Kurland Busts Crooked Records Clerk
Another one bites the dust.
A former city employee was busted for selling police and accident reports for cash, Inspector General Amy Kurland announced today at City Hall. Kelly Kaufmann Layre, a clerk in the police reports unit of the Records Department, has been charged with bribery by the U.S. attorney for providing information under the table to three other individuals, who have also been charged.
The three, Tina Meyrick, Paul Kling and Brian Daly, allegedly provided the illegally obtained police and accident information to law firms and public reporting companies. Typically, they would pay Layre five to ten dollars in cash, Kurland said, for reports that normally cost $20 to $25. In total, Layre is accused of selling 24,094 reports to the other defendants for $185,776 over a four year period starting in 2007.
Layre, who worked for the city for over a decade, allegedly pocketed the money for her own use. If the reports had been sold legitimately they would have brought over $600,000 in revenue to the city.
The scheme was uncovered through a tip, Kurland said, although she declined to release more information pending the criminal trial. Layre resigned her position earlier this year as the investigation unfolded.
Records Department Commissioner Joan Decker said the department will prevent future fraud by physically rearranging the office so employees are less secluded, and installing video cameras to monitor staff activity. “It’s a very active room,” Decker said to explain how such misconduct could have gone unnoticed for years. “It’s difficult to observe legitimate activity or not legitimate activity.”
Now, earlier this week City Controller Alan Bukovitz released an audit that found a total lack of oversight in the city’s fleet management office. All year the controller and inspector general have played ping-pong, alternating busting crooks on the city’s payroll and uncovering cases of gross mismanagement and total lack of record keeping.
Mayor Nutter goes for a positive spin. “There are unfortunately a very small number of people who tarnish the reputation of our government,” he said today, while maintaining that the vast majority of city employees do their jobs with honesty and integrity.
The question is whether the OIG and the controller are really making a difference, fixing problems where they find them and scaring straight other potential criminals, or are they just skimming the surface of a massive reservoir of fraud, paying lip service to reform in an unreformable morass?
With each new indictment and audit, does that mean we’re one step closer to a nirvana of ethical government, or is it just a sign of how huge and systemic the problem with Philadelphia really is?
“They all get caught,” the mayor added, in a parting shot at corrupt employees who steal taxpayer money. But do they?