usatoday.com – A lunch lady in a small Virginia city stole more than a quarter-million dollars from the local school system, an investigation by state police has found.
Investigators concluded that Lenora Williams, the longtime director of food services for the Radford school system, had used taxpayer money to make hundreds of unauthorized purchases from an account that she controlled, according to local media reports.
TV station WSLS said the probe found that over about 10 years Williams ran up $173,366.74 in unapproved charges on a debit card from the account, $11,804.84 in unapproved checks, and $76,123.66 missing from cafeteria money deposits. Police said a total of $261,295.24 had been embezzled.
State attorney Chris Rehak said the fraud became apparent after Williams died at age 61 in late 2017. He said debit card receipts revealed purchases Williams made at Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, restaurants, gas stations, resorts and even for her utilities and taxes.
Williams embezzled the money by falsifying audit reports, taking cash from student meal plans and inflating numbers for the free and reduced lunch program, he said.
Rehak, who released the report on Monday, also claimed that the decade-long thievery was preventable.
“On top of negligent record management, lackadaisical security measures, and careless accounting efforts, the more troubling part of the saga may rest in disregarded warnings,” Rehak wrote in a statement. “The working environment in 2010 was such that cafeteria staff members felt uncomfortable reporting unusual gifts and expenditures by Williams for fear of losing their jobs. Nevertheless, one brave employee stepped up to blow the whistle.”
After the tip, school administrators met with cafeteria staff and learned that Williams might be mismanaging money, Rehak said. However, officials “dismissed the concern and failed to contact law enforcement.” He said most of the embezzlement appears to have happened after that meeting.
Yo these damn food related Breaking Bad stories keep coming out…first it was prison lunches making millions now Lenora the lunch lady is over here embezzling?! Like after 10 years you would think she would chill the hell out..but I agree…the fact that she was even able to pull this off for this long definitely raises some serious questions about that school system.