BROWN DEER, Wis. (WISN) — The Milwaukee County district attorney’s office charged a Brown Deer woman with embezzlement after prosecutors say she stole more than $10,000 from the school lunch accounts over the course of five years.
According to a criminal complaint, Jennifer Dettman worked as food service director for Taher, Inc. at the Village of Brown Deer elementary school and middle/high school, and, as part of her role, she was involved in the financial management of the food service program.
Prosecutors say she was the primary supervisor of all food service funds coming into the school district and how those funds were posted to the student accounts.
According to the criminal complaint, in order to purchase food, students were required to deposit funds to their food service accounts. Those payments were dropped off in boxes designated for such funds throughout the school.
After the funds were collected, prosecutors say Dettmann was in charge of updating the student accounts for all schools to reflect the students’ deposits.
The criminal complaint alleges Dettmann would input e-funds, checks, and a portion of the cash received into the proper system, and then would take the second batch of cash for herself.
By inputting portions of the money, prosecutors say the accounts would still represent as money available, allowing Dettmann to continue her scheme without fear of parent complaints of missing funds.
A 2016 investigation by the district determined there was a significant difference between what was deposited into the district’s bank account and what was reported in sales by the food service vendor, Taher, and that those shortfalls traced back to the 2011-12 school year. The investigation revealed evidence of at least $13,000 having been taken.
During a police interview, the criminal complaint states Dettmann admittedto taking money, meant for school accounts, for herself. While unsure of the total amount of money she took, prosecutors say Dettmen believed it to be approximately $50,000.
If convicted on the embezzlement charge, Dettmen faces ten years in prison.