SALT LAKE CITY — Close to $500,000 went missing from cafeteria registers at two schools in Connecticut over the last four years. But no one knew about it.
It was only when the schools installed a new accounting system that they noticed the money was missing.
And officials say two lunch ladies are to blame.
Two sisters have been accused of stealing $478,000 in cash from New Canaan Public Schools in Connecticut. The scam ran from 2013 to 2017, officials say, according to News 12 Connecticut.
Joanne Pascarelli and Marie Wilson worked in the lunchroom at Saxe Middle School and New Canaan High School during the time of the scam.
The sisters were arrested this week. They’ve been charged with larceny and defrauding a public community, according to CNN.
"We are deeply upset by this alleged violation of our trust and the trust of the entire community, and are committed to continuing our full cooperation with the New Canaan Police Department regarding these allegations," the school district said in a statement.
In the arrest warrant, Wilson told police “the only thing she is guilty of is feeding a child who had no money or giving somebody a cookie,” according to The New York Times.
Mark Sherman, her lawyer, denied the allegations.
“This was not a woman who led a double life for her entire tenure with New Canaan,” he told The New York Times. “She never diverted any money for personal use.”
Both sisters resigned in December when New Canaan’s board of education began looking into cash loss, according to the New Canaan News.
The board began looking into the school after they discovered “financial irregularities at the schools,” CNN reported.6 comments on this story
"These irregularities were promptly reviewed and reported to the New Canaan Police Department," the school district said, according to CNN. "The New Canaan Police Department immediately began an investigation, and the school district has fully cooperated throughout the process. The alleged crimes involve a specific fund, the cafeteria fund, which is separate and apart from the district's operating budget.
An insurance company will reimburse the New Canaan Board of Education, according to The New York Times.
Bryan D. Luizzi, superintendent of New Canaan Public Schools, said in a letter posted to the district’s website that school officials will work with investigators to be “vigilant stewards of the community’s resources.”
“We are deeply upset by this alleged violation of our trust and the trust of the entire community,” he said.