The National Chicken Council estimates that Americans will consume 1.42 billion wings while the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Los Angeles Rams at this year’s Super Bowl. That’s a lot of bones! One Chicago woman may have turned America’s love for wings into illegal profits.
Cook County State’s Attorney has accused a former public school worker of stealing $1.5 million in goods over two years. Vera Liddell, 66, the former director of food services for Harvey School District 152 in Chicago, is charged with two felony offenses: Continuing Financial Crimes Enterprise and Class X felony theft. This crime carries a potential sentence of up to 30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines with restitution for the 11,000 cases of chicken wings and other food items stolen.
According to Liddell’s LinkedIn profile, she has been an employee of the school district since May 2011.
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As per CBS, the State’s Attorney for Cook County called it a “massive fraud,” which occurred during the COVID pandemic when students were not able to attend school in person, but the school district still supplied meals for their families to pick up. Over a period of 18 months during the pandemic, Liddell allegedly misappropriated over $1.5 million in funding intended for student meals.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Liddell was accountable for ordering food for the school district. From July 2020 to February 2022, the defendant allegedly made hundreds of illegal orders of chicken wings with Gordon Food Service, a distributor in Wyoming, Michigan, using the school district’s account. 11,000 cases of those wings never made it to the kids.
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CBS News reported that In January 2022, the district business manager conducted an audit and found that the food service department had exceeded its annual budget by more than $300,000 halfway through the school year. Investigating further, prosecutors discovered individual invoices signed by Liddell for large quantities of chicken wings. Surveillance video showed Liddell picking up the orders in a cargo van, though they never reached the school or students.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office informed TODAY.com that on January 30th, Liddell was discharged from jail after she posted 10% of the $150,000 bail bond. Her upcoming court hearing is scheduled to take place on February 22nd at the Sixth District Courthouse.
The only remaining question: What did she do with all those wings? Maybe she was planning an epic Super Bowl Party.
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