Lyin’ for Lunches

9

Who else has trouble stifling a smile, when the ”Hall Monitor” is caught breaking the rules? The Washington Post has the adult version: An employee with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently was exposed for fraudulently obtaining subsidized school lunches.

The public employee, who also was a school board member, took home an annual salary ranging from $70,000–$95,000. Yet, for some reason, she felt entitled to steal almost $2,000 worth of discount lunches, over the course of four years.

As it turns out, she was one of multiple GAO employees who were caught illegally obtaining subsidized lunches. Luckily, an audit stopped them dead in their tracks. Even though this woman stands by her story, that the investigation and charges were ”politically motivated” and that she simply had erred when filling out the lunch applications, a jury disagreed. She was subsequently found guilty of welfare fraud, felony theft and other charges, and will be on probation for three years. She also must perform 100 hours of community service and pay back the money she stole, in full.

Allocated for impoverished families, some whom live off of only $11,600 each year, subsidized lunches cost around 40 cents each. A full-priced lunch costs approximately $2.75 – a weekly difference of $11.75. While that may sound like chump change to many people, it’s enough to purchase six D.C. metro-area bus rides, and transportation costs often mean the difference between a lower-income child attending school or being absent. To put this further into perspective, the amount of lunch money stolen by this ”Federal Hall Monitor” is enough to keep 25 impoverished children from going hungry midday for an entire school year, excluding non-school days. (There is ample research available on the many ways hunger affects children’s ability to learn, socialize and generally function at a normal level at school. Google it.)

 

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Former school board member in Maryland is sentenced in school lunch fraud case,” a report written by Lynh Bui and published by The Washington Post on April 29, 2016.

A former Prince George’s County school board member was sentenced to three years probation on Friday for fraudulently obtaining free school lunches. A jury convicted Lynette Mundey of felony theft, welfare fraud and other related charges in February after a federal investigation found she stole more than $1,700 worth of subsidized lunches over about four years. Mundey is among several employees at the U.S. Government Accountability Office who were charged after an agency audit uncovered the fraud.

Mundey earned an income of $70,000 to nearly $95,000 but falsely filled out applications to obtain free or reduced-price school meals, prosecutors said. Families typically receive federal school lunch benefits when their reported income, depending on household size, is between $11,600 and $40,000.

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