School Lunch Lady Stole $1.5 Million Worth Of Chicken Wings
Now, this is not something you see every day.
Bond was set at $150,000 Thursday for a Dolton woman accused of stealing over $1.5 million of food, primarily chicken wings, while working as a consultant for a school district in south suburban Cook County, according to Fox 7.
Her name is Vera Lidell, 66 and she began working as the Director of Food Services for Harvey School District 152 in July 2020, according to a proffer from her bond hearing.
“The massive fraud began at the height of COVID during a time when students were not allowed to be physically present in school,” reads a proffer presented at Liddell’s bond hearing. “Even though the children were learning remotely, the school district continued to provide meals for the students that their families could pick up.”
Court records accuse Liddell of ordering more than 11,000 cases of chicken wings from the school district’s food provider and then picking up the order in a district cargo van between July 2020 and February 2022.
District funds were used to pay for the food, according to prosecutors but the food was never brought to the school.
The alleged scheme was uncovered by the district’s business manager during a routine mid-year audit. The manager found the district was $300,000 over its annual food service budget despite only being halfway through the school year, according to prosecutors.
“She discovered individual invoices signed by Liddell for massive quantities of chicken wings, an item that was never served to students because they contain bones,” prosecutors said.
According to Fox 7, she is charged with felony theft and counting a financial crimes enterprise.
The case was investigated by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Liddell was charged with theft. She is now in custody at the Cook County Jail with a $150,000 bond. She is due to appear in court on February 22nd, 2023.
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