$1M Stolen In Scheme Engineered By School Dist. Employees - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

$1M Stolen In Scheme Engineered By Bensalem School Dist. Employees

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Investigators say there was over $500,000 in theft from the school district's bus garage, including buses, vans, tires, batteries and other equipment. Investigators say there was over $500,000 in theft from the school district's bus garage, including buses, vans, tires, batteries and other equipment.
BENSALEM, Pa. -

Authorities say several men and women betrayed the public trust and cost Bensalem Township taxpayers well over $1 million dollars in a widespread theft scheme engineered by school district managers and employees with help from outside business owners.

"They said find what's bad, get it out of my building and that's what we did," said Township Public Safety Director Frederick Harran.

"People thought they were completely bullet proof and could do what they wanted with public resources," said Bucks Co. District Attorney David Heckler.

The year long, two pronged investigation found ghost employees who never showed up for work, managers who looked the other way and workers who got paid anyway.

Then there was over $500,000 in theft from the school district's bus garage, including buses, vans, tires, batteries and other equipment, which went on for 10 years, allegedly masterminded by former lead mechanic Fred Lange.

"You don't come to work for a couple years or you're stealing equipment out the front door and selling it for profit out the back door I have a problem with that," Harran told FOX 29.

Jack Myers was the lead defendant in the case, he's recently retired as the school district business manager.

"My client vehemently and vociferously denies all these charges," defense attorney Tom Kenny said.

Township taxpayer Liz Bourne was incensed by the corruption charges.

"I don't think we should pay any taxes now until that million dollars is back," she said.

Investigators say school grounds employees Joseph Dyer, his wife Shannon and Anthony Ruggiero were the three ghost employees. One never showed up for almost three years, another for almost two, which cost taxpayers over $200,000 in salaries, overtime and benefits.

"After all the evidence has been presented, we believe he'll be exonerated," said Ruggiero's defense attorney Tony Sean Page.

"Don't they ever check the budget, don't they look at anything," Bourne added.

The stolen equipment and vehicles were sold to members of what the defendants called the "breakfast club" and the "classic car club." The defendants were ordered to return to court March 26 for a preliminary hearing. Some were released on bail.

Several of the school employees resigned or were fired.

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