Cafeteria Worker Gets No Jail Time for Stealing Nearly $120,000 from Georgia School

Brenda Watts

A former high school cafeteria manager who pleaded guilty on Friday to stealing nearly $120,000 from a Georgia school over five years will not receive any jail time for her crime.

Brenda Watts pleaded guilty to one count of theft by conversion for taking money from students and depositing it into her personal bank account, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Authorities initially arrested Watts in January 2014 when a fellow cafeteria worker exposed Watts’ scheme. Authorities estimate Watts raked in $300 a day.

“I saw wrongdoing, so I reported it,” former North Springs High School cafeteria worker Beth Walsh, the employee who exposed the scam, told WSB.

Walsh picked up on the scam when she realized that a cash register for which Watts was responsible did not use electronic records to process sales.

The whistleblower later gave detectives surveillance footage of Watts going around several electronically-monitored food cart lines that tracked sales to pocket the cash without it being detected.

The judge responsible for Watts’ case ordered her to repay the money she stole but did not sentence her to any jail time.

Walsh, who filed a wrongful termination suit against the Fulton County School District, claimed she was fired from her job for exposing the scheme. She later accepted a $50,000 settlement from the school before taking the matter to court.

The Fulton County School District said in a statement that it had instituted tougher record-keeping policies and provided further training to its employees.


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