Friday, June 18, 2010

TOP STORY>>Thief gets just 18 months

Leader staff writer

A former Pulaski County Special School District employee was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison for stealing about $500,000 from the district to support his drug habit.

U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson also placed James Diemer, 49, the district’s ex-maintenance supervisor, on three-years
supervised probation after his prison term.

Saline County sheriff’s deputies arrested Diemer on May 15, 2009. He pleaded guilty in January to theft of property from a government entity that received federal funds.

Diemer, a PCSSD employee since 1999, admitted to investigators of defrauding the district “from day one” of becoming supervisor of mechanical systems “because he knew no one was looking.”

Diemer understood how the district system worked and he made it work for himself. The district allows blanket purchase orders for purchases under $2,500. He knew that excesses were allowed and that as his invoices passed up the chain of command to the superintendent, they were rubber-stamped without review.

A part of his scheme was to use one vendor to order items from another vendor so that excesses over monthly limits per vendor would go undetected.

Over five years, Diemer made purchases for equipment totaling $439,745. The items included 266 cordless toolkits, seven truck toolboxes, 28 radios, eight generators and 19 icemakers. Most he had sold; a few were found at Diemer’s residence.

Much of the money was supposedly used to support Diemer’s addiction to Hydrocodone or Oxycontin.