By Brad Segall, Jenn Bernstein

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BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) — Eighteen people, including several current and former Bensalem School District employees, were arrested today in what law enforcement authorities say was an elaborate scheme to bilk the taxpayers out of more than $1.5 million.

These latest arrests bring the number of people charged to 20 in connection with a scheme that police say went as high up the chain as former business manager Jack Myers, who stepped down last year (see previous stories).

Police say employees were buying tires and batteries for district vehicles on the taxpayers’ dime, then reselling those items on the open market to line their own pockets.

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Bensalem public safety director Fred Harran says, “It’s really a well planned criminal conspiracy here.  All of these individuals, all working together to get this merchandise out and to get some cash coming in, when gone unchecked for so many years they continued to do it.  And those days are over.”

Harran says this has been going on for at least a decade, and the investigation is ongoing.

The corrpution was all found within the facilities operation of the school district.

Three people are also charged with running a “ghost employee” operation in which they were clocked in and received their pay but in many cases failed to show up for work.

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