Rialto CA: 1.8 million embezzled school lunches

I know, strange, but the same school district that concocted that Holocaust denial assignment for middle-schoolers has got itself an embezzlement scandal. Rialto California.

An employee raked in or out, as case may be, a whopping 1.8 million dollars from  school lunches over 14 years.   That’s a lot of bananas and yogurt. However, a total of 3.1 million is unaccounted for in an audit.

Or maybe this story is a wormhole to another dimension?

The Sun reports the sordid details here.

The 25-year career, on paper, of Judith Oakes at Rialto Unified


(The Sun)Twenty-six years later, prosecutors allege Oakes may have found her job a bit too profitable: An audit by the district accuses her of embezzling $3.1 million in lunch money from district schools over 14 years, stuffing money into her bra and stealing an average of $2,000 a day on three out of every four days she worked over the past four years.On Oct. 8, she was charged with eight counts of embezzlement by a public or private officer and eight counts of a public officer crime. If convicted of all charges, she faces up to 11 years in state prison. The charges focus on $1.8 million she allegedly stole over the past four years.Back in 1987, she was a new Cal State San Bernardino graduate with a bachelor’s degree in finance, “seeking a challenging career opportunity … where my experience and education will be effectively utilized for mutual benefit,” the “Objective” portion of her 1987 resume reads. At the time, she was a three-year employee with the Bank of Redlands (now Community Bank), where she was being trained as a loan officer.

I guess she now has a Masters in ‘high finance’. Okay, so in four months that is around 96,000 dollars, or 288k yr. (on top of her salary and perks) That’s a lot of bra padding. If convicted, she faces up to 11 years in prison. Another strange twist is at the arraignment her attorney put the emphasis on the amount of her bail, compared to other criminals.


Rialto police arrested Oakes on Aug. 7 after she was allegedly recorded on video stuffing cash into her bra. She was booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga and released on $50,000 bail on Aug. 8, the same day she resigned her position with the school district.The Rialto Unified School District’s superintendent, Harold L. Cebrun, and his deputy, James Wallace, remain on administrative leave pending an investigation into the matter. Neither is considered a suspect, police said./…

A former Rialto Unified accountant’s bail was increased to $1.8 million — the same amount she is accused of embezzling from the district — at an arraignment in Fontana Superior Court on Wednesday after she pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges.

Judith Oakes, 48, was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom after pleading not guilty to eight counts of embezzlement by public or private officer and eight counts of public officer crime.

“Isn’t it amazing, in San Bernardino, that the bail for taking money can be twice what the bail is for first-degree murder and can be four times what the bail would be set on a man who commits the crime of rape,” Oakes’ attorney, Patrick Milligan, told KTLA. “It’s just amazing to me that in these days when we don’t have any jail space, that we would deem a property crime to have the possibility of creating more danger to the community than those kind of crimes that I just talked to you about.”

Oakes’ family “was crushed — not because they thought she should be released” on her own recognizance but because they “did not get a bail that would allow them to post bail on their child and their mother without breaking the bank of all these people,” Milligan said.

“If she wanted to have bail at $250,000 that’s what she should have stolen,” San Bernardino County Assistant District Attorney Rick Young said in court, the San Bernardino Sun reported.

Although authorities say Oakes is suspected of embezzling $1.8 million over 14 years, an audit conducted by an investigation firm reported that $3.1 million is unaccounted for during that time period. (More)


Touche’ to the DA. The family cries hardship and they’re worried about bail? Its hard to get outraged over the bail in such a case. In fact, the original bail of 50,000 seemed more of a drop in the hat. (that’s only about 8 weeks of takes)

The 2nd article seems more concerned on her history and bail decisions than details. I’m trying to understand, it says 3.1 million are missing and they charged her with 1.8 million. Are they going to forget the other 1.3 million? Seems to be more to come on this. Where did she put all the money, in a bank? If not, it raises even more questions.

But in a region where stories have surfaced on some officials or a superintendent legally making half-million dollar salaries, what is 1.8 million or even 3.1 million anyway? That rationale sounds as disturbing as arguments about unreasonable bail. To say nothing about the padded bra. What say you?

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