Brownsville TX Oct 16 2016 A South Texas woman will spend two years in federal prison after admitting to stealing more than $300,000 of cash proceeds from lunch food sold at Brownsville ISD.
Leticia Arreola, 39, was sentenced on Wednesday in federal court for stealing about $332,571.46 from four different schools between 2010 and 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Arreola gained access to the cash through her position as an accounting clerk in the food and nutrition services division of Brownsville ISD. She plead guilty to embezzlement charges on June 1.
According to the federal agency, schools in Brownsville ISD are required to send their cash proceeds from lunch food to banks affiliated with the school district. The cash deposits are put in deposit bags and delivered to the banks by armored car. When schools missed their scheduled time to give their cash proceeds to armored cars, the deposit bags were delivered to Arreola.
Prosecutors said Arreola would keep the cash deposits delivered to her instead of depositing them at the banks. Eventually, Arreola had all of the cash deposits delivered directly to her. She took the money out of the deposit bags and put it into her purse, taking it with her at the end of the workday, according to the Department of Justice.
Arreola made approximately $20,000 annually while she was employed at Brownsville ISD. She was able to embezzle more than $48,000 in 2010. In 2011, she embezzled $46,538. She embezzled $35,561 in 2012 and more than $63,000 in both 2013 and 2014. Arreola embezzled $71,571.46 in 2015 and $4,712 in 2016.
The embezzled money came from Faulk Elementary, Brownsville Early College High School, Brownsville Learning Academy and the Brownsville Academic Center.
Prosecutors said Arreola spent the embezzled money on living expenses, vacations, entertainment and shopping.