Manhattan hospital clerk Marque Gumbs was doing so well moonlighting as a peddler of stolen property that he drove a BMW, shopped at designer stores and vacationed in Las Vegas and Mexico.
But unlike other thieves living beyond their means, his contraband wasn't jewelry or electronics -- it was toner for copiers and printers.
The $1.5 million scheme at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center exploited what New York City authorities describe as a largely overlooked, yet lucrative black market for toner cartridges and other office supplies.
Businesses have long endured employees pilfering pens, paper clips and other items for personal use, but schemes like Gumbs' go much further, with the perpetrators using business accounts to place false orders for costly items such as toner, then reselling them at a steep discount.
Adrian Rodriguez, an employee of Manhattan law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, faces grand larceny charges for toner theft.
Prosecutors claim Rodriguez, 38, who pleaded not guilty this month, ordered more than $376,000 in excess toner from two vendors over a two-year period. He would sell the cartridges -- worth $80 to $259 apiece -- for as little as $10 "out of the firm's back door . . . and using the money to party and otherwise finance his lifestyle," according to court papers.
The thefts at Memorial Sloan-Kettering date to 2007, when one of Gumbs' duties as a $37,800-a-year receiving clerk was to order supplies from an Office Depot website. Prosecutors accused him of ordering $1.5 million in cartridges that didn't fit any of the copiers and printers at the hospital.
In 2007, an account executive at a New Jersey stationery supply company pleaded guilty to stealing 30,000 toner cartridges valued at $1.75 million.