Five employees of the Government Accountability Office — a federal government watchdog agency — along with a spouse of another member of the agency, have been indicted for exploiting the public school lunch program, according to The Washington Post.
One of the members, Lynette Mundey, was until this spring a member of the Prince George County Board of Education in Virginia.
The employees are accused of misreporting their incomes so that their children would qualify for reduced-price lunches. An estimated 300 fellow federal employees have reportedly been flagged for similar abuses of the program.
The scheme is estimated to have cost the federal government roughly $13,000 over the last four years. “This is a program for people who can’t afford it, but these are people who can,” said John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.
A reduced-price lunch costs 40 cents, and a full-price lunch costs $2.75 for elementary school students and $3 for middle and high school students, according to the Prince George County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services.
Each of the employees, meanwhile, earned salaries that were “well above” the level required to qualify for reduced lunch prices.
“It’s concerning when you have a public official… who is actually committing fraud against the very system she is helping to advance,” Erzen said. “It seems like a lot of trouble to go through for such a small amount of money.”