According to court documents examined by a NewsNation affiliate, the food service director for an underprivileged south suburban school district near Chicago is accused of stealing $1.5 million worth of food, most of which consisted of chicken wings.
This occurred in COVID
A document that was produced at Liddell’s bond hearing stated, “The vast fraud occurred at the height of COVID during a time when students were not allowed to be physically present in school.” This statement was taken from the document. Even though the children were attending classes at a remote location, the school district continued to offer meals for the students, which could be picked up by their families.
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Accused for placing orders for more than 11,000 cartons
According to the documents filed with the court, Liddell(According to a LinkedIn account that is affiliated with her identity, Vera Liddell, who is 66 years old, has been employed by Harvey School District 152 for more than ten years) is accused of placing an order for more than 11,000 cartons of chicken wings with the food source for the school district and then picking up the order using a district cargo van.
Food never given to children
According to what is written in the paper, “the food was never transported to the school or provided to the children.” According to the prosecution, funds from the district were utilised to pay for the food; however, they did not disclose what happened to the chicken wings.
According to the prosecutors, “She uncovered individual invoices signed by Liddell for enormous numbers of chicken wings,” which is an item that was never supplied to children since it contains bones. “She also discovered individual invoices signed by Liddell for chicken breasts.”
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The fraud came out in Audit
During a routine midyear audit, the district’s business manager made the discovery that is said to have discovered the alleged fraud. According to the prosecution, the district manager discovered that the district was $300,000 above its yearly food service budget despite the fact that barely halfway through the school year had passed.
According to the documents filed in the case, the staff of the district’s food provider, Gordon Food Service, knew the defendant “because to the large amount of chicken wings she would purchase.”
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A bond worth $150,000 held
Theft charges were brought against Liddell after an investigation into the matter by the office of the State’s Attorney for Cook County. She is currently being held at the Cook County Jail under a bond amount of $150,000.
Lela Bridges, the interim Superintendent of Schools for Harvey School District 152, stated that she had just been in her position for the past week. She acknowledged to WGN that she was aware of the allegations against her but stated that she was unable to comment due to the current inquiry.
Liddell to appear in court in February
There are five different schools that make up the district. According to the available records, the overall enrolment in the district is 1,600 children, with more than 80 percent of students meeting the criteria for “poor poverty.” Late in the month of February, Liddell is due to make another court appearance.