A school district official in Chicago, Illinois, has been arrested for stealing $1.5 million in food, primarily chicken wings, from the district during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vera Liddell, 66, who worked as the food service director for the Harvey School District, is being held in the Cook County Jail on a $150,000 bond, according to WGN-TV.
According to court documents reviewed by the television station, over 11,000 cases of chicken wings were ordered and picked up in a district cargo van during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students were learning remotely at the time, but the district continued to serve meals that parents could pick up.
Prosecutors claimed that district funds were used to purchase the food, but that the food was never served to the students.
During a mid-year audit, school officials discovered that 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 it contained bones,” according to prosecutors.
According to the Associated Press, more than 80% of the district’s 1,600 students are low-income.