Contact Us

Student Lunch Ripoff Revealed in Comptroller Report [AUDIO]

An investigation of 15 New Jersey school districts finds 109 public sector workers and their family members allegedly lied about their incomes on applications for federal school lunch programs, so their children could receive free or reduced-cost student lunches at school.

NJ State Comptroller Matt Boxer (Photo by David Matthau, Townsquare Media)

State Comptroller Matt Boxer says this may just be the tip of the iceberg.

He confirms thousands of school board members, teachers and other local, county and state employees may be gaming the system so their children can get the free lunches in school districts all over New Jersey, in part because only three percent of the applications submitted to school districts are actually verified.

Boxer points out under requirements from the federal government, school districts are specifically prohibited from reviewing that other 97 percent, unless there is a specific cause to suspect fraud.

“So basically what that means at the end of the day is, as long as you lie big enough about your income to avoid being real close to the income limit, your application will go right through.”

He adds another factor that plays a part in this is that the more children are signed up to receive school lunches, the greater the amount of aid the district receives from the state and the federal government – so if the system isn’t changed, “we are risking school aid being administered based on amount of fraud rather than amount of need.”

Boxer says his investigators did see evidence of districts holding events to encourage folks to sign up, including things like hosting a barbecue.

“School districts need to make sure those efforts are coupled with cautionary warnings, and instructions about how to fill out the form.”

“It’s disappointing that school board members were gaming the system like this. I mean these are people who are entrusted by the public, having been elected into the office -to then be using their insider information to scam the program is an outrage, frankly.”

The individuals accused of providing false information on application forms may now face criminal charges, and jail time.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Read the Full Comptroller Report

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://wobm.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on 92.7 WOBM quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on 92.7 WOBM quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!