If, like us, you've been worried that discussions on substantive policy issues like home-rule and merit pay have distracted from Dallas ISD's long and storied history of stupid penny-ante graft, then you're in luck. Federal prosecutors have just brought charges against a former DISD employee who allegedly stole $162,000 through fake worker's compensation checks.
Maricella Reed was employed by the district's risk management department for seven years, from 2004 to 2011. One of her primary duties there was to keep the list of employees owed worker's compensation. Twice a week, before checks were issued, she would print a list of recipients to be approved by her supervisor. Then, she would send the list to accounts payable, which cut the checks.
The key flaw in this process was that no one was checking to make sure that the lists Reed sent to accounts payable were the same ones had been approved by her supervisor. During the last two years of her employment, they weren't, according to a federal indictment filed Tuesday.
On at least 121 separate occasions between May 2009 and May 2011 (checks were cut twice a week) Reed allegedly deleted the name and address of an actual worker's compensation beneficiary and replaced it with that of her co-conspirator, Adrian Bevelle.
Bevelle, who is not and has never been a DISD employee (his LinkedIn profile lists his profession as "hitman" at "getemgone") would then retrieve these checks and cash them, usually at PLS Check Cashers of Texas.
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It's not clear from the indictment how Reed and Bevelle were ultimately caught, just that they're both charged with conspiring to commit mail fraud.