A former cafeteria manager for the Fulton County public school system was arrested and charged with allegedly embezzling more than $1 million from the school cafeteria where she worked, AJC.com reports.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher broke the story last spring when a former cafeteria worker leaked information about the embezzlement scheme to Channel 2 News.
Former cafeteria manager Brenda Watts is accused of running a cash only food line inside North Springs High School cafeteria in North Fulton County.
She allegedly pocketed $500 in cash per day from the cafeteria over 15 to 20 years.
Watts, who retired from her job one day after Belcher’s report ran, had worked for the school system for 26 years.
Belcher said the total amount of money possibly stolen over 15 years adds up to more than $1.3 million.
The whistleblower, Beth Walsh, provided Action News with video from inside the North Springs High School cafeteria. The video shows four food lines — all of which had cash registers to keep track of the money. But one food line stood alone — a blue cart that sold a-la-carte food items for cash only. There was no cash register to track the cash transactions.
Belcher asked Walsh how long the cafeteria manager operated the a-la-carte line. “At least 15 years. Up to maybe 20,” Walsh said.
Fulton County school police obtained 10 arrest warrants for Watts, who apparently spent some of her ill-gotten proceeds on a 5-bedroom, 5400 sq. ft. house in south DeKalb County.
No one answered the door when Belcher stopped at the home for a comment on his news report. Moments later, the garage door opened and a Mercedes Benz pulled out and drove away from the residence.
Walsh, the whistleblower, was fired but she said she doesn’t regret turning in her former boss.
“You know, just, if you feel like something’s going on, look into it. You could be wrong. But if you’re right, you’re doing the right thing,” Walsh said.