Hearing that a man has been accused of stealing about $2.8 million in textbooks just conjures up the image of a bespectacled fellow, perched atop a huge pile of books, who peers over his glasses when interrupted in his reading of The Big Book Of Organic Chemistry: Super Impossible Edition and simply raises an eyebrow as if to say, “Why are you bothering me?” The reality is probably a lot more boring, and has the book salesman out of a job and facing serious federal charges.
The Oklahoma man worked for a Hoboken-based book company, reports The Jersey Journal, and is accused of pilfering the textbooks from his employer using a tricky scheme of misdirection. And no, he wasn’t really stealing the books to read them and then pass his knowledge on to a band of ragtag kids who couldn’t afford to buy the books themselves. That’s just the movie plot I have in my mind.
According to the complaint unsealed in Newark federal court yesterday, the man infiltrated the corporate systems of the book company and diverted more than 16,000 textbooks to addresses under his control. He simply listed them as free samples, which worked because he was employed as a higher education publishing representative and also as a district sales supervisor based in Oklahoma.
To cover up his scheme, he’d designate the books as going to both real and made up professors, and then listed addresses he controlled as alternate shipping addresses for those professors.
Once he had the books in his hands, he’d sell them to resellers and be paid through PayPal — instead of opening the free tutoring business I see in my nonexistent movie. He reportedly then spent his ill-gotten gains on stuff like fancy home furnishings.
He’s been charged with wire fraud as the result of the FBI’s criminal complaint, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine.
Wiley salesman charged with stealing $2.8 million in textbooks [The Jersey Journal]