Rialto School District’s Ex-Accountant Charged With Embezzlement
A former accountant for the Rialto Unified School District who was seen allegedly stuffing lunch money into her bra was charged Tuesday with 16 felonies in connection with the suspected embezzlement of $1.8 million from the district.
Judith Oakes, 48, was charged with eight felony counts of embezzlement and eight counts of public officer crime, which refers to the keeping of a false account for public money, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
An investigative firm hired by the school district documented a loss that could go as high as $3.16 million, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The school district’s superintendent, Harold Cebrun, and his deputy, James Wallace, were placed on leave amid the investigation, according to the San Bernardino Sun.
Oakes had been arrested Aug. 7 after she was recorded on surveillance video putting school lunch money into her bra, the DA’s office said.
She was released from West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on $50,000 bail on Aug. 8.
A letter of confession purportedly written by Oakes to the school board was obtained by the Sun. With instructions that the document be read in closed session Aug. 14, the letter stated that Cebrun’s named was inappropriately being “dragged through the mud” in connection with Oakes’ alleged crimes.
“There were no other school district employees involved in this crime and my confession to the police was honest and heartfelt,” the letter read. “Don’t blame others for what I have done as I am extremely sorry for my actions against the district.”
The letter, signed by “Judy Oakes,” asked for forgiveness.
Oakes faces up to 11 years in state prison if convicted of all charges, which reflect alleged crimes ranging from 2005 to 2013, according to the criminal complaint.
She is due for arraignment in Fontana Superior Court on Thursday, according to a tweet from the DA’s office.
Her husband, who died in 2010, was an elementary school principal in San Bernardino. The couple have three sons.