The Dallas Observer has a long article on the scandal at the Collin County Community College District. I am told it may be part of a series. Given the going on at the district, a series is appropriate.
Here’s a taste, but you should read the whole thing:
Dead textbooks are textbooks left over from previous orders when a new edition hits the shelves. Officers claim the bookstore is supposed to destroy the dead textbooks or sell them back to the manufacturer. But it only receives “pennies on the dollar” for the textbooks and, in turn, loses money.
The scheme the officers say they uncovered allegedly involved bookstore bosses selling new books under the table to the vendor, replacing the new books with the dead books and pocketing the cash. The vendor would then sell the new books elsewhere and keep the proceeds.
“Let’s assume estimates by the bookstore are that 10 pallets of the seventh edition of The Prince will be needed for classes the next semester,” Bennight says. “Since there are five pallets of the sixth edition in the basement that can be substituted, 15 pallets of the seventh edition are purchased. If each text costs $100, and there are 250 books per pallet, the cost of the excess inventory ordered is $25,000 for each pallet, a total of $125,000 for all five extra pallets ordered.
“Upon arrival, the sales rep keeps the excess pallets and pays the bookstore official $62,500 in cash,” he continues. “The sales rep personally profits when he sells the same texts to another institution at full price.”
Bennight pointed out that this $125,000 theft is just for one textbook pallet during one semester. The more than $2 million in dead books he says the college later wrote off is merely “a snapshot of a single point in time,” so there is no telling how much thievery has occurred over the years. “Sworn statements from accounting staff indicated ‘dead books’ were re-entered into inventory multiple times,” he says. “This means the $2 million is a low estimate of the theft.”