Search warrant: Rialto Unified accountant stuffed money in her bra [San Bernardino County Sun, Calif.]
(San Bernardino County Sun (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 31--A former Rialto Unified School District accountant suspected of stealing thousands of dollars in student lunch money was caught on video surveillance on at least two occasions stuffing large amounts of cash into her bra, according to a search warrant affidavit.
Judith Oakes, 48, resigned from her job as accountant for the school district's Nutrition Services Department the day after her Aug. 8 arrest on suspicion of grand theft, embezzlement and burglary. Police allege that Oakes had been stealing money from the district since June, possibly longer.
Oakes had worked for the school district for 16 years.
Derek Harris, the school district's risk manager, called police on Aug. 7 after Oakes' supervisor, Cindi Stone, told him she saw Oakes on video surveillance on at least two occasions concealing large amounts of cash in her bra, according to the affidavit, filed Wednesday in San Bernardino Superior Court.
Thousands of dollars in student lunch money passed through Oakes' hands daily as it was collected from district schools and sent to her to inventory and deposit into the district's bank account. Daily bank deposit slips dating back to June, obtained in the initial stages of the police investigation, noted a discrepancy of $2,000, according to the affidavit.
Oakes had a private office with access to a department-issued desktop computer, according to the search warrant affidavit, but police on Friday said it was premature to suspect Oakes of fudging the Nutrition Services Department's accounting records.
Rialto police Capt. Randy DeAnda said his team of detectives working the case are awaiting an audit of the Nutrition Services Department from the school district before making that determination.
"We're hoping to find out if there were any other financial discrepancies," DeAnda said Friday. "That's what the forensic audit will reveal -- if there are any abnormalities or discrepancies in the accounting in which Judy Oakes would be responsible for."
The District Attorney's Office is conducting a forensic audit of its own, and the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Office announced this week that it too would be conducting an audit of the school district's Nutrition Services Department.
Police received authorization from Judge John Tomberlin to search Oakes' San Bernardino home, the Nutrition Services Department and Oakes' personal banking records at Arrowhead Credit Union, where, according to the search warrant, she has an account for herself and joint accounts with her two sons.
Oakes had a large amount of cash in her possession the day she was arrested, and a subsequent search of her home turned up more cash and other evidence related to her position with the school district, police said.
Police seized from Arrowhead Credit Union a CD containing Oakes' financial records that could be useful in their investigation, according to the search warrant affidavit.
A police inventory of what was seized during the search of the school district's Nutrition Services Department remained under seal with the court.
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