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6 NJ Public Employees Charged With Stealing Thousands From Free Lunch Program

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – Six public employees have been charged with stealing from the free and reduced price school lunch program.

The six employees, who are all women, are accused of filing fake applications for their children. Four of them are from the Philadelphia area.

Some of the six are accused of filing false applications for as many as six school years, resulting in up to $4,000 of free breakfasts and lunches their children were not entitled to.

According to police, the following are facing charges:

1. Nona Daily, 45, of Pennsauken, a teacher’s aide in the Camden School District, allegedly filed false applications for five school years beginning with 2009-2010 and continuing through the current school year, which resulted in her two children receiving $4,016 in free breakfasts and lunches to which they were not entitled. Daily reported only her income in the applications, failing to report that her husband, who is a member of the household, earned between $63,000 and $73,000 in each of those years as an employee of New Jersey Transit. Daily earned between $18,000 and $22,000 annually.

2. Jessica Davila, 42, of Newark, a U.S. Postal Service clerk, allegedly filed false applications for six school years beginning with 2008-2009 and continuing through the current school year, which resulted in her two children receiving $1,870 worth of free lunches or discounts on reduced-price lunches to which they were not entitled. Davila reported household income for those years ranging from $16,000 to $39,000, when in fact her income combined with the income of the children’s father, who lives with them, ranged from $128,000 to nearly $150,000. She did not report any of his income on the applications.

3. Tiajuana McShan, 40, of Millville, a cottage training supervisor at the Woodbine Developmental Center, allegedly filed false applications for three school years beginning with 2011-2012 and continuing through the current school year, which resulted in her three children receiving $1,722 worth of discounts on reduced-price lunches to which they were not entitled. She reported annual income ranging from $26,000 to $44,000 for those years, but her real income ranged from $45,000 to nearly $75,000.

4. Helen Allen, 45, of Millville, a senior food service handler at the Woodbine Developmental Center, allegedly filed false applications for four school years beginning with 2010-2011 and continuing through the current school year, which resulted in her two children receiving $1,218 worth of free lunches or discounts on reduced-price lunches to which they were not entitled. Allen under-reported her own income and failed to report the income of her boyfriend, who is the father of one of the children and was a member of the household. Their combined incomes greatly exceeded the household income limit for the program, exceeding $100,000 for at least two of the years in question.

5. Janet Hubert, 53, of Hillside, a family service worker with the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, allegedly filed false applications for six school years beginning with 2008-2009 and continuing through the current school year, which resulted in her three children receiving $862 worth of discounts on reduced-price lunches to which they were not entitled. Hubert earned between $83,000 and $94,000 annually during those years, but reported less than half of her income. She also did not report her husband’s income. Together they earned between $95,000 and $115,000 in household income during those years.

6. Theresa Gunter, 34, of Browns Mills, a nurse at Buttonwood Hospital (now a private hospital but formerly run by Burlington County), allegedly filed a false application for the 2009-2010 school year that resulted in her two children receiving $616 worth of discounts on reduced-price lunches to which they were not entitled. Gunter reported that she earned just over $30,000 annually, when in fact she earned nearly $49,000.

Each of the six are charged with third-degree theft by deception, which carries a potential sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000 upon conviction.

“Fraud in public assistance programs costs taxpayers many millions of dollars each year,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman in a release. “It’s reprehensible that public employees – whose own salaries are paid by taxpayers – would lie about their income in order to steal tax dollars and exploit a program intended to provide nutritious meals to disadvantaged children.”

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