School Worker Allegedly Stole $1M Worth of Chicken Wings

Vera Liddell, 66, accused of making unauthorized food purchases
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2023 6:05 PM CST
School Worker Allegedly Stole Wild Amount of Chicken Wings
   (Getty Images / Alexandr Milodan)

Chicken wings aren't served to school kids because of the hazards posed by their bones. And yet a Chicago-area school district ordered 11,000 cases of them, in what prosecutors allege was a scheme carried out by the food service director during the pandemic. WGN reports that Vera Liddell was a longtime employee of the district, which it describes as "impoverished." Per court documents, when remote learning began due to COVID, the district continued to supply meals to students via a pick-up option.

Prosecutors say that in addition to the necessary orders made by the district, from July 2020 until February 2022 Liddell allegedly placed hundreds of additional orders—mostly of chicken wings—from Gordon Food Service for food that never ended up at the schools. CBS Chicago reports Gordon Food Service billed the district for those unauthorized orders, which totaled $1.5 million, and those bills were paid. But a standard audit conducted in January 2022 found the district had blown $300,000 past its food budget with half a school year left.

Prosecutors say that led to a review of invoices, which they say turned up ones signed by Liddell, 66, for all those wings. Officials haven't disclosed where the food allegedly ended up, though surveillance footage allegedly shows Liddell picking up the orders in a district vehicle. Per court filings, Gordon Food Service employees all knew Liddell "due to the massive amount of chicken wings she would purchase." She's been charged with theft and is being held on a $150,000 bond. (More weird crimes stories.)

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