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Anonymous Letter Led to Bensalem Corruption Investigation

Officials said the investigation into the alleged $1.5 million conspiracy included a grand jury, search warrants, investigative work and tips.

A letter from an anonymous tipster is what sparked the investigation that ultimately lead to the arrest of 20 people connected to $1.5 million in thefts from the Bensalem School District, officials said.

Bensalem's Superintendent Dr. David Baugh, who took his job in 2011, said he received a letter in February 2012 filled with allegations that school employees were not working. After only an hour and a half of investigating during a break in his schedule, the district head realized something was wrong. The letter appeared to be correct.

According to court records, the letter was submitted by a "hard working current employee of the district."

More tips on possible corruption in the district came pouring in over next few days, Baugh said.

The district hired a private inestigative firm to conduct survallance on two groundkeepers who were alleged not to have shown up for work, court records show.

Police then opened an investigation and began to uncover what lead to the arrests that took place in August and on Wednesday, Feb. 13, township Public Safety Director Fred Harran said.

Detectives uncovered a receipt for Eastern Autoparts that contained charges for car parts that belonged to a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle. Harran said on Wednesday that those parts were clearly not intended for a school district vehicle.

Through investigative work, including executing search warrants, and undercover operations, Harran said his officers began to put a case together. According to District Attorney David Heckler, a grand jury was also convened.

The public safety director said previous school superintendents may have received tips on the alleged wrongdoing and did nothing.

“We don’t believe any other superintendents were involved,” Heckler said, referring to criminal activity. Officials refused to say exactly how much previous school administrator knew.

Heckler and other officials said the corruption was very well veiled because of former business administrator James Myers’ involvement in the scheme. Myers handled most of the district’s finances and performed the yearly audit.

Myers retired in July 2012 after 28 years with the school district, officials said. Previous to Bensalem, Myers worked for the Philadelphia School District.

“These criminal acts stripped the district of taxpayer dollars intended to support the education of 6,300 Bensalem students and cast undeserved doubt on the integrity of the school district,” Baugh told reporters.

Law enforcement said they continue to investigate and more arrests in the case could be possible.

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 20 Arrested in $1.5M Bensalem Conspiracy Probe

A Z Parisi February 14, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Took long enough, how far does this really go how many other departments are getting away with this?
J.Baro February 14, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Should recover investigation expenses,court cost , and every penny they stole.
Karla February 14, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Make them pay our school tax increase
Concerned homeowner in Bensalem February 14, 2013 at 05:05 PM
This is why it is time for a change in GOVERMENT leaders. What else do we as taxpayers have to pay for? I just hope people wake up when it is election time and Say we are MAD and NOT gonna take it NO MORE! Give Bensalem some fresh blood before they bleed us dry!
bob de February 14, 2013 at 05:39 PM
there's at least two millionares on this list. fine them enough to pay for investigation, payback and all our taxes for the next 3 years. wahoo
Cindy February 14, 2013 at 06:15 PM
I am a Bensalem resident and previously worked in a different Public School District as an Accountant for several years. It disturbs me greatly that usually corruption starts from the head. If the top administrators want to sign off on purchases, those that process paperwork can do little to stop the madness. A better and more secure system needs to take place because honesty does not exist in most cases.
Earle Leo Nelson Jr. February 14, 2013 at 08:32 PM
Any one who looks at a receipt for a car part for a 66 Chevelle, dam right knows the district doesnt have any Chevelle Busses left they got rid of them in the 70's!!!! LOLOLOL That's why the guy approving these receipts was in on it too.
jsmith February 15, 2013 at 01:06 AM
ff
jsmith February 15, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Speaking of the person who approves purchases....the purchasing manager....why has he not been arrested.....
Robert Roberts February 15, 2013 at 01:09 AM
I sent an e-mail, to then superintendent Lombardo, telling him about the secretary at Struble School that had been pilfering funds. I was a friend of this woman's daughter, and found out but didn't want to ruin my friendship with the daughter, yet I felt I needed to alert authority about it. And guess what, I got an email back from Lombardo saying that he would not take any anonymous tip seriously. Thank God Dr. Baugh has the commen sense to look into these allegations. Now Dr. Baugh, check on the head of the custodians, who uses his business vehicle for private use, on company time. And those custodians who spend half their shift on the loading docks smoking or playing cards should be the next ones to go. Good Job Dr. Baugh, keep it up. Also Gil Slowe, who was one of those arrested has a wife and two daughters who work for Bensalem Township School District, as well as grandkids in the Bensalem Schools, and at various points his daughters were "stealing education" from Bensalem Schools, as their children did not live in the district!
Patricia February 15, 2013 at 03:38 AM
Sounds like this township needs a clean sweep from the top on down! There are so many people out of work now, god would they love to have your job (losers!) Bensalem, start taking applications!!! I heard something a few months ago of how something really big was coming down in the bristol township school district also, it included a lot of influential people in the town. (I haven't seen anything yet though?)
Jason February 15, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Township should do something about this and refund the tax-payers a small amount. The increase our taxes every yr so crooks like these can benefit. Thats BS. Someone needs to step up in do something about this. No wonder why when i inwuired about a job with township school district they said no bc its all about who you know on the inside and knowing there was a big scam going on they didnt want to bring any outsiders. Its time for a serious change in Bensalem.
P2YA February 15, 2013 at 04:11 PM
It should be pointed out that under the PERS pension system the now retired financial head, Myers, is probably pulling in his full pre-retirement salary plus perhaps an additional increment (if he is also collecting a separate pension for his time in the Philadelphia School District). If convicted of wrong-doing his pension should be forfeited. Of course, the way laws seem to work in this state it would be "illegal" to take away his pension, but robbing the taxpayers and getting a relatively small slap on the wrist--that would be okay. Get ready for a load of BS about what a "fine public servant" he was that just went a little off the rails toward the end of his career and being overwhelmed by the magnitude of managing the district's finances. I can hear it now! Similar situation with Facilities person--another "great guy" that got caught up in a bad situation with dishonest employees. All BS! If you're the person in charge, and it happened on your watch, you're as guilty as everyone else associated with the crimes.
Millie February 15, 2013 at 08:23 PM
@P2YA ~ I agree. And if he doesn't lose his pension for his crime then maybe the tax payers need to file a Class action lawsuit against him and take it away from him to pay back what we had to pay in higher school taxes! And sue the others too.
Robert Roberts February 16, 2013 at 01:46 AM
I have now heard that one of those arrested as stealing, a current mechanic is NOT being fired, although they found school district property in his garage. What gives with this???????
Robert Roberts February 16, 2013 at 01:48 AM
He probably didn't have any idea what was happening, as he was too busy sitting at his computer all day long, sending jokes, and other funny e-mails to his friends, family and other Bensalem employees, clogging up their inboxes, and doing all of this on district time, when he was supposed to be overseeing what was being bought. Shame on you TP?
Michael Carcel February 16, 2013 at 10:12 AM
What would school taxes be without waste, theft, nepotism, etc, I am sure lower? It is time someone outside the school district takes jurisdiction over them.
Joe February 17, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Thats what you get with an employee whose mom watched dark shadows religiously and sang to the sun on their back porch every sunday and whose family philosophy was " there is no god".
Dave February 19, 2013 at 09:18 PM
There is an easy fix to these sort of problems. People need to raise children with a zero tolerance for lying, cheating and stealing. Then this sort of thing couldn't possibly happen. We could eradicate corruption in one generation. Get to it people! Spend time with your kids. And turn that damn TV off.

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