Prison for accountant who stole $1.8 million in school lunch money

A former Rialto school accountant accused of embezzling $1.8 million in lunch money and stuffing the cash into her bra was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.

Judith Oakes, who was the school district’s nutrition services accountant, was also ordered to pay $1.845 million in restitution for stealing the cash, according to Christopher Lee, spokesman for the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office.

The thefts dated back to 2005.

Authorities said Oakes earned about $77,000 a year, but lived a luxury lifestyle. She had two homes, off-road vehicles and took expensive trips, authorities said.

Oakes, whose late husband was a respected school principal in San Bernardino, resigned the day after she was arrested.

She was taken into custody on Aug. 7, 2013, after video evidence showed Oakes stuffing her bra with lunch money.


Oakes was responsible for collecting cash from 29 district schools.

Later, photos emerged showing Oakes and then-Rialto schools chief Harold Cebrun hugging and him giving her a brief kiss. Cebrun denied having an “intimate relationship” with her.

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