School lunch admin stole more than $250K from cafeteria funds, including students' accounts

Illustration for article titled School lunch admin stole more than $250K from cafeteria funds, including students accounts
Photo: Steve Debenport (Getty Images)

This one is just depressing. The longtime Director of Food Services for a school cafeteria in Radford, Virginia stole and embezzled more than a quarter of a million dollars, according to a recently closed investigation by Virginia State Police.

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WSLS 10 reports that after the death of Lenora Williams, the employee in question, in 2017, “it suddenly became evident that taxpayer money had been used to make hundreds of unauthorized purchases from an account controlled and supervised by Williams.” That sounds bad, right? It gets worse (emphasis ours):

A report released this morning reveals the following banking activity over the past 10 years: $173,366.74 in unapproved charges on a debit card from the account, $11,804.84 in unapproved checks written from the account, and $76,123.66 missing from cafeteria money deposits… Investigators say methods of embezzlement included falsified audit reports, money taken from student meal plan accounts and inflated numbers for the free and reduced lunch program.

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She literally stole their lunch money.

The attorney for the Radford City Commonwealth, Chris Rehak, said that the massive theft was preventable, mentioning bad record management and accounting, lax security, and no joke, a 2010 meeting in which cafeteria employees warned school administrators that Williams “might be mismanaging money and engaging in improper spending habits.” Rehak also noted that most of the fraudulent charges occurred after this meeting, and that bank records were sent directly to the Radford City School Board Office, which passed them directly to Williams, unopened.

The school district has refuted part of Rehak’s claims, saying that they were “unaware of any reliable and verifiable facts that either established or proved that any former employee was embezzling cafeteria funds.”

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.

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DISCUSSION

jiminradfordva
JimInRadfordVA

How does this not get caught in an audit? Also, will the school system now be on the hook for the money she fraudulently claimed from the government?

My kids went through this school system. No wonder it seemed like I was always writing checks for lunches.

Additionally, this woman has a daughter working as a secretary in the school system and grandchildren who are students here. Some of them are getting a hard time from their peers about their crooked granny.