Theft charges filed on former Merced College employee

07/21/2014 3:48 PM

07/21/2014 7:44 PM

Charges were filed Monday against a former Merced College employee accused of stealing $363,000 from the school over a seven-year period, according to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.

Joseph Bisinger, 48, will face felony charges in Merced County Superior Court for four counts of theft by false pretenses, according to Merced County Deputy District Attorney Walter Wall. Each count carries an enhancement.

He faces a maximum of six years in a state prison, according to Wall.

Bisinger was fired from Merced College in May while he was under investigation. As Merced College’s lead purchasing agent, he was in charge of dealing with vendors and purchasing supplies for the campus, according to the college.

Wall said Bisinger used a fake janitorial company to charge Merced College for services that never took place. The charges went back to November of 2007 and continued through February.

The discrepancy in Merced College’s records came to light, Wall said, when an employee noticed that the janitorial services were being charged to the old address of Merced College’s Los Banos Campus. The campus on the west side of Merced County moved into its newer location in September 2007.

The charges went apparently unnoticed by the annual audits conducted by an outside organization, hired each year by Merced College to go through the school’s books.

President Ron Taylor responded to the charges in a prepared statement. He wrote that after a lengthy internal investigation, it became obvious a significant amount of money was missing — money that could have been invested into educational programs.

“Once the violations were discovered, we immediately contacted the Merced County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a fuller investigation,” he wrote. “We are committed to maintaining our fiscal integrity and are determined to see justice done in this case.”

“We will pursue every effort to recover the stolen funds, and preserve the trust and confidence that our students and our community have had in us for 50 years,” he continued. “In this case, we expect that justice will be served.”

Bisinger had worked for the college since 2007. As lead purchasing buyer, he made $48,300 per year.

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