Atlanta media was recently buzzing with news that a former Fulton County “lunch lady” had been arrested for stealing from a school cafeteria. Law enforcement officials said the cafeteria manager engaged in embezzlement for at least five years, taking $500 per day in cash.
That adds up to $2,500 per week and about $90,000 per school year. If the allegations are accurate, it would mean the former North Springs High School employee stole about $450,000.
However, one of her former co-workers said the alleged scheme went on much longer, meaning the total taken could be significantly higher.
The suspect retired from her north Fulton County job in June, at the end of the 2013 school year. She had worked for the school system for 26 years.
According to an Atlanta TV station report, the woman faces 10 charges, though the report did not detail the specific allegations.
The woman apparently ran an a la carte lunch line in which items were sold for cash to students, and then allegedly took some or all of the proceeds for herself.
A former cafeteria worker said in a TV report aired last year that the a la carte line had been in place for 15 to 20 years.
The former worker who made the allegations against the woman now charged was fired from her job, she says, but the TV report does not state why her employment was terminated.
As is so often the case with TV news, reports focus on attention-grabbing headlines and ignore the important details.
The good news for those accused of crimes is that cases are not tried in TV studios. Instead, a court hears testimony and weighs evidence presented by both prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys before rendering a decision.
Source: WSB-TV, “Cafeteria worker accused of stealing up to $1M arrested,” Richard Belcher, Jan. 22, 2014