The investigation to uncover fraud within the Detroit Public Schools has found evidence that millions of dollars in district funds have been misappropriated, stolen or embezzled. Six district employees have been immediately suspended.
DPS Inspector General John Bell announced the findings at a press conference today detailing ďonly a fewĒ of the 85 individual fraud investigations launched by his office, created by DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb earlier this year in order to uncover fraud within the stateís largest school district.
Even as Bobbís investigation team, with help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has worked to uncover ďevery red pennyĒ slated to support education in the district, ďpeople continue to steal from usÖcreating cesspools of corruption,Ē Bobb said.
A handful of cases were detailed at the conference, involving six DPS employees Ė two custodians, an accountant, a cafeteria cashier, a security officer and two principals Ė who have been suspended as a result of the investigation.
The announcement was made shortly before the DPS fiscal year 2009-2010 budget is slated to be adopted. The district is facing a $285 million deficit, even after Bobbís turnaround team cut $295 million from the upcoming budget.
Evidence indicated that the two custodians stole 30 DPS laptop computers worth $52,439, and further inquiries found that two DPS teachers and a teacherís aide had three of the computers, said Bell.
Another investigation between the FBI and the DPS Office of Inspector General indicated that an accountant of 15 years at Golightly Career and Technical Center stole $30,000-$60,000 from the center, another $1,500 from the Golightly Middle School and was overpaid by more than $1,300 for hours not worked last summer.
The principal of Golightly was suspended for using $1,884 in DPS funds to repair her vehicle, additional funds to pay for funeral floral arrangement and a reception for 60-80 guests and paying a vendor $30,000 to install audio-visual equipment, while much of the equipment was never delivered or installed, Bell said.