Turns Out, Stealing from Garland ISD Was a Pretty A.Z. Thing to Do
After the jump, courtesy the U.S. Attorney's Office, the tale of Dolores Arriola Espino, who managed to steal $84,000 from the Garland Independent School District -- her employer for 22 years. (Loyalty, schmoyalty.) Sentenced Friday to 10 months in prison for theft and embezzlement and ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to pay back $92,112.50, Espino came up with quite the scheme -- no surprise, as she was the district's Special Programs Federal Bookkeeper. Espino created a vendor named A.Z. that "was purportedly available to provide translation and interpretation services to the GISD," says the release, which lays out the how-tos and what-fors. She got away with for a whole year. The downside? Prison. --Robert Wilonsky
FORMER GARLAND INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEE SENTENCED IN EMBEZZLEMENT CASE
DALLAS, Texas - Dolores Arriola Espino, of Garland, Texas, was sentenced Friday by Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to ten months in prison for theft and embezzlement, announced U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper of the Northern District of Texas. Judge Fitzwater also ordered Espino to pay $92,112.50 in restitution and serve two years of supervised release.
Espino, a longtime GISD employee who worked for the District for approximately 22 years, served as a Special Programs Federal Bookkeeper from September 11, 2002, until her termination in 2007. Espino admitted, in documents filed in court, that she embezzled more than $84,000.00 from GISD between May 22, 2006, and July 31, 2007.
Espino initiated the scheme in 2005 by using the GISD online application system to create a fictitious vendor named A.Z. who was purportedly available to provide translation and interpretation services to the GISD. After registering A.Z. as a GISD vendor, Espino then generated fraudulent invoices reflecting services that A.Z. allegedly performed. These invoices, also referred to as letters of agreement, detailed the services provided, as well as the number of hours worked and the dates, times, and locations where the services were provided. The false invoices charged services to Department of Education Title I programs for interpretation and translation services.
Espino signed her name on each invoice as the GISD point of contact. Espino also forged the signature of A.Z. on each invoice. In order to comply with the GISD management approval requirement, Espino used her supervisor's signature stamp on each invoice to indicate that the payment had been approved. Espino's supervisor, who was the GISD Federal Programs / Grant Manager, was unaware of these transactions and did not authorize Espino to use her signature stamp.
Espino submitted each fraudulent invoice to the GISD Business Office for payment request. The GISD Business Office processed the payment request and then issued a check made payable to A.Z. Once the check was issued, an employee from the GISD Business Office notified Espino that the check was available for pick up. After picking up each check, Espino signed both her name and A.Z.'s name on the check. Espino then deposited the check into her personal bank account.
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