thE oak leaf • december 10, 2012
thE oak leaf • december 10, 2012
Suspicions: Fellow officer’s observations led to Holzworth’s arrest Keshia Knight &William Rohrs Managing Editor and Staff Writer
As SRJC District Police Sergeant Jeffrey Holzworth’s Dec. 17 arraignment approaches, information released in a search warrant details the initial suspicions that led to the 28year veteran’s arrest on suspicion of grand theft and embezzlement. Holzworth, 51, was arrested after SRPD used search warrants to install a GPS in Holzworth’s personal vehicle and to retrieve items from his home, workspace and personal and work cars. Several thousand dollars were found in the search, although it is unknown at this time how much Holzworth is suspected of taking. The embezzlement investigation came after SRJC District Police Sgt. Steven Potter alerted District Police Chief Matthew McCaffrey about possible ongoing embezzlement from another officer. McCaffrey turned over the case Nov. 1 to SRPD to avoid a conflict of interest. In a late October incident, Holzworth offered Sgt. Potter a ride to Tauzer Gymnasium for a defense tactics training session. Holzworth, however, forgot his cell phone and left Potter alone in his pickup truck to go retrieve it. Potter noticed a cup holder filled with only quarters, and out of curiosity, opened the truck’s center compartment. The affidavit stated that Potter
found six stacks of $1 bills and at least one stack of $5 bills. “Potter stated each stack was approximately one inch high and contained approximately 100 bills,” the affidavit states. When Holzworth returned to his pickup, Potter told detectives, “Holzworth had a look of ‘panic’ on his face as he went back to his vehicle. Ofc. Holzworth got into the drivers seat of the vehicle. Holzworth removed his wallet from his pants and placed it into the center console of his vehicle. Sgt. Potter noticed that Holzworth opened the center console only enough to slide his wallet into it, and then he quickly shut it,” the affidavit states. Shortly after Holzworth and Potter arrived at Tauzer, Potter noticed that Holzworth kept his keys in his sweat pants the entire time. The keys would frequently fall out of Holzworth’s pocket and disrupt training. Potter noted that this behavior was odd, as other officers placed their keys in a general area for safekeeping, the affidavit states. The warrant detailed a separate occasion in 2006, in which Potter and another police employee observed Holzworth’s black bag in the locker room. The bag held Holzworth’s parking machine maintenance equipment. Potter said this was odd because the bag is usually kept in Holzworth’s locker or private office. The bag was partially unzipped. Potter and the other employee opened the bag to find approximately $100-200 in $1 bills.
They took the bag into evidence. In the affidavit, Potter remembered another incident on a Sunday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. two or three years ago. “Sgt. Potter observed Ofc. Holzworth’s vehicle on Burbank Circle near a coin operated parking meter. He then noticed that Holzworth was emptying coins from the parking meter. Holzworth was wearing sweat pants and a sweatshirt. Potter stopped and spoke to Holzworth. Holzworth told Potter that he was leaving for Las Vegas later that afternoon and he needed to empty all the machines prior to leaving. (This was a Sunday and the Santa Rosa Junior College accounting office was not open.)” Several of his fellow officers had suspected Holzworth had been taking advantages of his duties years prior to his arrest. “Yes there were suspicions, but this investigation is focusing on one singular incident,” McCaffrey said. This observation led McCaffrey to request an SRPD investigation, where a GPS device was planted in Holzworth’s personal vehicle to track his movements for 30 days. According to the SRJC Insider Newsletter, Holzworth was the May 2005 employee of the month and a committed member of the college community and Sonoma county law enforcement. He identified in the newsletter that his greatest accomplishment at SRJC was keeping all the permit machines and parking meters working at all times.
Ventek parking machines have been used at SRJC for nearly ten years. SRJC district police chief matthew McCaffrey said Holzworth’s responsibilites involving cash collection started when the machines arrived on campus.
“I collect the money and maintain them to keep them up and running so we don’t lose revenue,” Holzworth said in the newsletter. Holzworth was released after posting a $150,000 bail and has since been placed on administrative leave by the college. After two postponed arraignments, Holzworth is set to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 17. SRPD Lt. Lance Badger said the investigation could take time. “It’s not like a homicide or robbery where we have all the facts and it’s a matter of rounding up suspects. This is totally different because it can trickle down to several financial institutions and it’s a lengthy process.” Joe Passalacqua of the Healdsburg law firm Passalacqua and Passalacqua is representing Holzworth in court. Passalacqua is a specialized criminal defense lawyer. After several inquiries, Passalacqua declined to provide a statement to the Oak Leaf. While Holzworth has declined to comment on the case, when told about the college community’s devastation over the case outside the courtroom Dec. 3, Holzworth looked at the ground and said, “I know.”
Loopholes: how parking theft could happen here Drew Sheets News Editor
In the wake of embezzlement and grand theft allegations against a longtime friend and colleague, SRJC community members and SRPD detectives are still piecing together how Sgt. Jeffrey Holzworth could have looted the district’s parking pay system. According to Vice President of Business Services, Doug Roberts, there are more than 40 daily permit pay stations and at least 60 parking meters in the district, all of which Holzworth maintained, serviced and regulated for at least 10 years. “When it came to those machines, Jeff was our expert,” Roberts said. When Holzworth collected the bags of money, the machine would “spit out” a receipt that showed the date and time the money was collected. “Some of the machines only spit out a receipt on the day it’s collected and it only date stamps on the day it’s collected,” Roberts said. According to a search warrant affidavit that Santa Rosa Police detectives filed with Sonoma Superior Court, SRJC District Police Chief Matt McCaffrey admitted there was no way to tell if Holzworth turned in all the money he collected from the machines. “If Ofc. Holzworth collected money from five machines in one day, he might only turn in money from three
or four of those machines. No one would know that Ofc. Holzworth collected money from additional machines because the machines do not reconcile with a central database. Ofc. Holzworth is equipped with a computer that clears out the accounting memory from each of the parking machines.” The affidavit states that other department employees often saw Holzworth using this computer to clear out the machines after he collected money from them. “Chief McCaffrey said that Ofc. Holzworth has the training and the only computer equipment to clear the internal memory from each of those machines. Ofc. Holzworth keeps the computer with him, or locked in his office. None of the other district personnel have access to this computer,” the affidavit states. Each machine can contain several thousand dollars. One recent parking pay station retrieval netted $1700 on the Petaluma campus, Sgt. Steven Potter told investigators, the affidavit states. Annual parking revenue totals $1.5 million, including paid permits, daily permits and meters. This figure represents nearly half of the district police’s annual budget. Holzworth typically brought in a mail bin full of bags of money and corresponding receipts to the accounting department, an anonymous source told The Oak Leaf. “The bag and receipt are taken to accounting. They then do a spot reconciliation as to what’s in the bag and what’s on the receipt,” Roberts
said there were not many instances when it didn’t match up. “When it didn’t match up, money from the machine was higher than the receipt.” The affidavit discusses how Holzworth might have evaded accounting scrutiny. “Hypothetically, if Ofc. Holzworth collects Photo by Drew Sheets $1000 from machines 1 through 5 in one Jeffrey Holzworth talks with and unidentified woman outside of day, he might only Sonoma County Superior Court Dec. 3. His arraignment was postturn in the money from poned until 8:30 a.m. Dec. 17, pending an ongoing investigation. machines 1, 2, 3, and and deposits. I don’t know if it’s going to 4. There is no way for the accounting department to know that show up much.” The farthest they can go funds from machine 5 should have been back is seven years. McCaffrey changed the pay station turned in. Ofc. Holzworth can then clear collection process immediately following the memory out of each machine using a Holzworth’s arrest. computer.” “We’re changing the collection SRJC’s Accounting Department declined to comment on the process as process,” Roberts said, “making sure all did Ventek International, the pay station collections are made by two individuals together. That’s the manual fix.” manufacturer. SRJC Professor Michael Aparicio said, “We’re talking to the manufacturer and we’re talking to the local rep to “Chief McCaffrey’s handling of the case get a better understanding of how the was exceptional. It reassures me that we machines could work and how they could will get through this.” District Police Sgt. Steven Potter said, be manipulated,” Roberts said. The SRPD is also investigating the “Chief McCaffrey is the best thing that has accounting process. “We are cooperating happened to this department.” SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong was with SRPD, doing whatever they are asking us to do,” Roberts said. “They want briefed on the Holzworth situation from to go back and compile our receipts. And the beginning and has launched an that’s going to be matching up receipts internal audit of the accounting process.
The SRJC District Police Budget is comprised of three elements The general fund supplied $625,000 Parking tickets: $251,581 Parking fees, including semester permits and machine sales: $1,487,074 Source: SRJC 2012-2013 budget
SRJC Vice President of Business services Doug Roberts estimated anywhere between $265,000300,000 went through Holzworth’s hands last year alone.
Impact: SRJC Community Reacts With Shock, support, disappointment and plans for change
Workplace Theft: To Take From the Hand That Feeds You
will not go unnoticed. Dowling said the student government plans to follow this case closely and will publically voice concerns. Her biggest concern at the moment is the enormous structural deficit the college is facing. Dowling said the case couldn’t have come at a worse time as the college cannot risk losing the trust of the community and public support. “I think we need to strongly question how something like this could have happened, follow through with who is accountable and how we can prevent it from happening in the future by suggesting and implementing improvements to the process and the system,” Dowling said. The college is already implementing new procedures to prevent future theft. Chong said an internal audit will look at the college’s procedures and safeguards. He said that Roberts is working with SRJC District Police Chief Matthew McCaffrey and a parking committee. And while again Chong stressed that it is still too early to know all the details, he said Roberts will bring in experts in forensics and security if necessary. “We want to ensure an incident like this doesn’t occur again,” Chong said. According to Roberts, officials are making quick manual fixes that change the entire collection process. Before the parking money was collected only by Holzworth; now two people will collect the money together to prevent any chance of a missed step in procedure. The college will also take a look at the parking meters and any
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates the typical organization loses six percent of its annual revenue to employee theft.
Keshia Knight & Thomas De Alba Managing Editor & Sports Editor
After news broke of Jeff Holzworth’s arrest Nov. 28, the SRJC community was shocked that a trusted member of the district police and a friend of many officials could be accused of embezzlement and grand theft. But once the initial shock subsided, people are now wondering what kind of impact the case will have on the college. Holzworth had been a part of the SRJC community for 28 years; he was the most veteran officer on the force, a friend to many and the golfing buddy of former SRJC president Dr. Robert F. Agrella. Because of Holzworth’s deep ties to the community, people all over campus were in disbelief. SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong said many people are shocked and disappointed. “Everybody who knew officer Holzworth was shocked because they’ve known him for many years,” he said. “He was very well liked, always accessible and available.” Vice President of Business Services Doug Roberts oversees the accounting department and knows Holzworth to be an outgoing, friendly guy. Roberts said a lot of people enjoyed being with him. When asked about the case, Roberts said that it was still too early to determine anything, but if Holzworth had committed the crime then he would be very disappointed in him. “What I am most disturbed at is the idea of what this is doing to his (Holzworth) family because I don’t
think they were in on it,” Roberts said. While two of Holzworth’s close friends, Agrella and SRJC Athletic Director Jim Forkum, declined to comment, assistant head football coach Leonard Wagner chose to focus his attention on how his friend is doing and what type of guy he knew Holzworth to be. “Jeff Holzworth is my friend. Any time I have needed him he has been there for me, which is what friends do for each other. Because I am his friend, I will continue to support him during him during his time of need,” Wagner said. “In regards to Jeff as a person, he has always been a first class individual. Eager to help and someone you can count on.” School administrators were not the only people disappointed by the news. Several SRJC students were surprised to hear how such a trusted member of the school could commit such a crime. A few had very strong reactions. “In my point of view, it seems really desperate. To take that kind of risk, it seems like it was planned out for a long time,” Chris Johnson said. “It’s disappointing he would sink so low.” SRJC student David Barclay was concerned that Holzworth must have abused some sort of loophole. “No one is going to pay special attention to a cop of 28 years; he must have been really trusted,” he said. SRJC Student Trustee Michele Dowling was also saddened by the news of Holzworth’s arrest. She acknowledges that the investigation is still on-going but says this incident
Davis Mannino type of flaw in the system or machine itself. “We are looking at the age of some Contributing Writer of our machines and trying to find out, and of course this is some of the work that SRPD is looking into, is how By all accounts he was liked, the machines could be manipulated,” respected and even loved. In the Roberts said. rearview mirror of life, a career of 28 Roberts also said that because years as a SRJC police officer may now Holzworth was the “expert” when it lie in possible ruins. Jeff Holzworth, 51, came to the pay machines, the school a past “SRJC Employee of the Month,” has had to find someone new. SRJC was charged with embezzlement of is partnering with the manufacturer parking revenue. Holzworth was in and local brand representative to charge of meter maintenance and understand how the machines work revenue collections for years at SRJC. and can be manipulated. There was very little oversight of his While it is still unknown exactly work. how long Holzworth is suspected of embezzling and how much money he What makes a likeable person is accused of taking, Roberts says it is with a distinguished career from all in the best interest of the college to appearances take from the hand that find out the specifics. SRJC does have feeds him? Forensic, organizational a crime insurance policy through a and industrial psychologists have long joint powers statewide association of examined employee workplace theft. community colleges. Studies and Roberts said the district reports show that does can make a claim EWT comprises $15once the extent of 50 billion a year in losses is determined. the U.S. alone. Some The investigation Last year, Holzworth’s saldata suggest these is still fairly new and figures are higher than Roberts understands ary totaled $93,740.12, that from shoplifting that people want including $10,342.86 in loss, often called answers. Roberts “shrinkage.” The low is hesitant to point overtime and $16,647.26 fingers, but said the end of this figure in health benefits college is taking all involves physical theft the necessary steps while the higher end towards preventing this involves “stealing from happening again. time,” that is, lying about hours worked.
them into a workplace thief? People who cheat and steal in the workplace sometimes believe they themselves have been gravely cheated in life. When they steal they are evening the score. It is interesting to note that layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing, excesses in executive compensation, as well as salary and benefits cuts, worsen and harden these beliefs by some. Terrence Shulman, in his book “Biting The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic” (2005), notes the U. S Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75 percent of employees steal in the workplace and that a more recent study saw an increase by 50 percent since the start of the recession.
The psychological angle of employee theft is most interesting. “Why do they do it?” First, there are many types of employee theft. The major categories are: stealing money, stealing time, petty theft, stealing costly items (called grand theft), co-worker theft, customer and client theft, fraudulent favors to friends and family and vending machine theft. These categories round out some of the major theft schemes. Psychological dynamics may vary greatly by theft type. While there are various psychological profiles for many workplace employee thieves, two stand out. The first (Type 1) is the workplace thief who in many areas of their life is a kind, liked, respected and a good person. They seem to have a character flaw in how they justify their theft.
The Type 1 workplace thief slips into the act slowly, over time, and because they believe they won’t get caught. Poor oversight makes it easier. It is interesting to note that Holzworth apparently had considerable control over parking revenues with no checks and balances. Banks use two-person teams to handle money, rotate the teams and alternate team membership. Also, the Type 1 workplace thief is generally not in dire financial straits.
The second (Type 2) is or sometimes called the “Bernie Madoff” thief. In this type, there is nothing good about them --- they are a scamming con artist, cheat and thief to their very core. They are severely pathological.
Still others take the position, “They owe me” for real and/or perceived sacrifices for an organization that have gone unrewarded --- they act like a victim. That is why organizations bend over backwards to praise and reward their employees robustly. Once a “sense of entitlement” settles
Since most workplace thieves tend to fall into the Type 1 category, let us focus on this group. What is the psychological transition that takes an otherwise good person and molds
in, turning back from workplace theft becomes more difficult. Nearly all employees engage in, and justify, some type of workplace theft, whether it is a long distance phone call or a taking home office supplies. For the most part it is human to do so. When the line is crossed from occasional workplace theft to major workplace theft it becomes a more complicated topic. Forensic, Organizational and Industrial Psychologists are still trying to understand the dynamics of employee workplace theft. That is, why one bites the hand that feeds them. Until then, workplace theft will continue, perhaps grow, and be as unpredictable as a thief in the night. Dr. J. Davis Mannino is a professor of Psychology at SRJC