The integrity of five Government Accountability Office employees, including a school board member, are under scrutiny because of a school lunch theft probe by their employer.
The employees and the husband of an employee lied about their income to get free and reduced-price lunches for their children, according to the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.
GAO, which audits federal programs looking for possible abuse, found the five employees during a routine examination of the U.S. meals program.
“We were both disappointed and surprised during the course of our investigation to discover some of our own employees might be involved,” a GAO spokesman Charles Young said in a statement. “We will now be monitoring the judicial process and then determine what personnel actions might be appropriate.”
The employees are accused of under-reporting their income or reporting no income to qualify for the school lunch program. From 2010-14, the children of Barbara Rowley, Jamilah Reid, Tracy Williams, Charlene Savoy and Lynette Mundey received almost $11,500 in reduced lunches.
“They’re stealing federal dollars that could be going to other students,” state’s attorney’s spokesman John Erzen said.
County Executive Rushern Baker appointed Mundey to the new, hybrid school board of appointed and elected members in 2013. She is scheduled to resign later this month.
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“She is not above the law,” Erzen said. “She’s going to be treated just as any other normal citizen would.”
A statement from Baker’s office said he is "... deeply disappointed with the news of indictments of GAO employees ... and specifically Board of Education Member Lyn Mundey ... These allegations of improper use of critical and much needed federal program are disheartening and concerning. "
James Pinkney, the husband of a GAO employee, failed to report his wife’s salary when applying for the program, the state’s attorney’s office said. His family received more than $1,700 in reduced lunches
Pinkney and the five employees are charged with several counts of theft, fraud and filing false applications.
“The actions of these individuals have threatened the integrity of a program meant to help those in need,” State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement. “There is no excuse for stealing funds intended to go to children whose parents cannot afford the school lunches.”