An official at a Chicago, US school district has been arrested for stealing $1.5 million worth of food mainly chicken wings from the district during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vera Liddell, 66, who was employed by the Harvey School District as the food service director, is being held in the Cook County Jail on $150,000 bond, according to WGN-TV.
The television station reportedly reviewed court documents that showed over 11,000 cases of chicken wings were ordered and picked up in a district cargo van during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At that time, students were learning remotely, yet the district continued serving meals that parents could pick up.
District funds were used to purchase the food, prosecutors said, but the food was never provided to the students.
When an audit was conducted mid-year, school officials discovered the district was $300,000 over its annual food service budget.
The district’s business manager discovered signed invoices for “massive quantities of chicken wings, an item that was never served to students because they contain bones,” prosecutors said.
The Associated Press reported that of the 1,600 students in the district, more than 80% qualify as low-income.