Every couple years the nation is rocked by a massive embezzlement scandal, wherein top level brass is found to have swindled millions from the company’s coffers. It is a white-collar crime that Americans typically associate with the private sector, and primarily affects those employed at the company when arrests are made and the chickens come home to roost.
However, when such a crime is committed in the public sector, the American people understand that such embezzlements constituents an affront to all residents and taxpayers of a given jurisdiction as the embezzled money is in fact the public’s money. Recently, the City of Pasadena was rocked by a scandal of this very nature involving a public works manager who embezzled the city to the tune of $6.4 million over the course of 11 years.
Several weeks ago, public works manager Danny Ray Wooten and city employees Tyrone Collins and Melody Jenkins were taken into custody and charged with committing 60 counts of embezzlement, among other charges. The arrest was made after the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office concluded that Wooten had established bank accounts in his own name and funneled money toward various religious organizations with which he was affiliated.
“I’m a taxpayer in this city. And I’m mad as hell,” remarked resident Brian Weiss during a City Council meeting following the arrest.
The City was quick to respond to resident concerns: officials announced Monday that the city would file a civil lawsuit to recover the $6.4 million. Additionally, city leaders announced the formation of an ad hoc committee dedicated to evaluating the instance and reviewing Pasadena’s 131 separate funds.