Home Detroit Press Releases 2009 Detroit Public Schools Employee Indicted for Theft

Detroit Public Schools Employee Indicted for Theft

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 15, 2009
  • Eastern District of Michigan (313) 226-9100

Robert C. Williams, 49, formerly employed as a truck driver in the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) was indicted by federal grand jury in Detroit for theft of property from a DPS warehouse, United States Attorney Terrence Berg announced today. Berg was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and John E. Bell, Inspector General of the Detroit Public Schools.

The two-count indictment charges that in February 2005, Williams with the assistance of at least one other individual, moved approximately $70,000 worth of new computer equipment onto a DPS truck and drove it away. As DPS is an organization which received federal assistance, Williams is charged with Conspiracy and Theft of Organization Receiving Federal Funds, violating Title 18 United States Code, Sections 371 and 666(a)(1)(A).

United States Attorney Berg said, “Theft on this scale from the Detroit Public Schools—an entity which receives federal funds—will not be tolerated. I commend the investigative efforts of the FBI and the DPS Inspector General, which lead to the charges being filed today.”

Special Agent Arena stated, "Public schools are one of the largest recipients of federal funding. The FBI continues to aggressively investigate individuals who would steal equipment and/or funds originally designated for the Detroit Public Schools and the children of the City of Detroit. The FBI would like to extended gratitude to John Bell and the Detroit Public Schools Office of Inspector General for their assistance and cooperation in this case."

Inspector General Bell acknowledged the contribution of the DPS Department of Public Safety in the collection and maintaining of evidence since 2005 which was used to support the indictment. He indicated there is a new philosophy at DPS which includes a zero tolerance for theft. “If you steal from our children, rest assured we will prosecute” he stated.

An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted on the conspiracy charge, Williams faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine and a 10-year statutory maximum penalty and up to a $250,000 fine on the theft charge.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Detroit Public Schools Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James M. Wouczyna.

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