Austin public library employee accused of stealing at least $1.5 million in printer toner

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So like, a dozen cartridges


But everybody keeps saying how you need a side-hustle to get ahead!


That may be the straightest part I’ve even seen.


Printer toner (for laser printers) is actually pretty cheap. Inkjet printer ink is the exorbitantly expensive stuff.

So $1.5M of the stuff is… a lot


seems like tighter controls at this library are overdue


Same thing happened in our org with purchasing cards. They were great for getting the supplies you needed, but this is why we can’t have nice things.


I see what &tc.


The boxes he’s carrying in the picture are $320 each. Four runs that size to his car per week would get you there.

Those Xerox solid ink crayons are the way to go in my opinion. You can fit thousands of dollars of ink in a box that you can carry one handed. And it’s high-yield, so you look like your being responsible when you order it.


I had a roommate who got fired from his driver job for using the gas card to fill up his motorbike (repeatedly). The tank on the thing was about the size of my coffee maker, he probably ‘got away with’ about $2 each time (it was 1990).

We later had a falling out when he couldn’t pay his half of the rent and convinced himself that I was home more so should pay more.


Okay, but what’s in the other box?


White toner to print on black paper.


Th article summary got me thinking about what I could do with liquid oxygen and 1.5 million dollars of toner.


The article is rather generous calling the other guy a “reseller” instead of a fence. Of course he doesn’t keep records. On the other hand, with access to Whited’s bank account information it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out roughly how much money he made. I’m betting it is considerably less than $1.5M.


Name brand HP toner isn’t particularly cheap. The cartridges last a lot longer which helps, but they’re still a pretty penny.


stolen cartridges probably don’t sell for much on ebay, when competing with the many fake listings.

wastes millions in taxpayer dollars to make away with several thousand. Maybe six figures over that time period, but I suspect the profit is about 10% of the retail price. Because criminals are stupid.


Purchasing has got to be the most morally hazardous profession in the world. Working at a software megacorp we would always complain about how purchasing would take weeks to get something that we could get at fry’s for half the price. Probably because the purchasing employees were away on sponsored Hawaiian junkets.


I can’t quite get a model number off the top box; but it looks an awful lot like the CE390X; which go for $322 per pack of one(two packs aren’t quite double the price) from HP. As a sanity check I ran it by our vendor (company account but no heroic toner purchases or special deals in that area) and they said $294 a pop.

Not quite the value density of walking out with an armload of laptops; but (unless you are more in the workstation/gamer segment) probably actually exceeded the density of an armload of desktops some time back.

Even if we assume that the guy is getting DEA math, quoted MSRP for those is ~$440; 1.5million is a lot of toner moved.

I just want to know how nobody noticed earlier. 1.5 million probably isn’t a whole IT budget for an outfit of that size, if their actual toner costs for the period were $150,000; but (assuming he also wasn’t letting patrons cry out for lack of toner) that’s a pretty massive amount of extra purchases on a company card.


My suspicion is that that is why the guy was called a “reseller”. In this context he was fencing; but for a slightly specialty good like toner whose provenance you can’t readily prove over the internet one of the hungrier of the outfits that does “managed print services” or supplies-inclusive hardware leasing is probably perfect for the job:

They are likely to be ready judges of authenticity as well as various tiers of refurb or fake, they consume a very large amount of toner, their customer base is paying them so they don’t have to think about consumables and thus unlikely to do much poking unless the print quality declines too badly; and getting consumables below market is one of the few ways that they could readily juice their margins.

Not the first toner scam.

Not the last.

City auditor today. Tomorrow: Inspector General!

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