Ill. school employee allegedly stole over 11,000 cases of chicken wings, $1.5 million from district

Ill. school employee allegedly stole over 11,000 cases of chicken wings, .5 million from district

CHICAGO (TCD) — A 66-year-old food service director was arrested and charged with theft after an investigation found she allegedly stole several thousand cases of chicken wings and embezzled over $1 million from the school district where she worked.

According to WGN-TV, Vera Liddell allegedly ordered 11,000 cases of chicken wings from a distributor and used district-owned vans to pick up the food. She also reportedly paid for the food using Harvey School District 152 funds.

Prosecutors reportedly argued, “The massive fraud began at the height of COVID during a time when students were not allowed to be physically present in school. Even though the children were learning remotely, the school district continued to provide meals for the students that their families could pick up.”

Prosecutors allege the chicken wings and other food Liddell reportedly ordered “was never brought to the school or provided to the students.”

A business manager for the school district discovered the alleged theft during an audit and found they were more than $300,000 over the allotted budget for food.

Court documents filed in Cook County reportedly said the business manager “discovered individual invoices signed by Liddell for massive quantities of chicken wings, an item that was never served to students because they contain bones.”

NBC Chicago reports Liddell had the food distributor invoice the school district for the wings, which she allegedly ordered separately from other items. This reportedly occurred between July 2020 and February 2022.

According to WGN, workers at the distributor knew Liddell “due to the massive amount of chicken wings she would purchase.”

The food theft reportedly equated to $1.5 million.

She is charged with continuing financial crimes enterprise and theft exceeding $1 million, according to Inside Edition.

She was booked into the Cook County Jail on $150,000 bond. Inside Edition reports Liddell was released after posting bond.


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