Lunch Lady Feeds Her Gambling Habit by Allegedly Stealing

Debt from the one-armed bandits leads to embezzlement from a school lunch program

A woman’s gambling habits have landed her in a whole lot of trouble. 

Beverly Howard, 53 of Westerly, Rhode Island, is out of a job and facing first-degree larceny charges.
Howard embezzled $334,778.31 from Chartwells, the company that runs the school meals program for the East Lyme school lunch program, said State Police.
The Day reports that Howard told officers she needed to repay about $382,000 in gambling losses, mostly at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The losses spanned six years.
“I first began going twice or three times a year but began going more and more,” Howard wrote in a statement to police, as reported by the Day. “When I would go to the casino, I would play the slot machines. I began to lose money, which was more than my finances would cover. I never used credit cards because I didn’t want my husband to find out how much I had been gambling. I began looking for a way to cover my losses.”
In the affidavit, Beverly Howard said she taking cash out of the cafeteria revenues before making the daily deposits into the school lunch fund and creating false deposit logs to cover that up. In the beginning, she says she attempted to replace the money she took.
Beverly Howard has been ordered to stay away from the casinos. She was in court on Dec. 2 and pleaded not guilty.
Her attorneys say she is cooperating with authorities and recognizes the severity of the allegations. She returns to court Jan. 7.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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