Huntsville, TN (2017-08-23) A former Food Service Director for the Oneida Special School District has been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $60,000 from the district.
On Tuesday, a Scott County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Verna Rose Wright, 61, of Oneida with theft of over $60,000 and official misconduct. Authorities say Wright, who is the former Food Service Director for the Oneida Special District, misappropriated at least $60,532 in school funds for her personal benefit.
Subsequent to the indictment, Scott County Criminal Court Judge E. Shayne Sexton issued a capias warrant for Wright’s arrest. She was booked into the Scott County Jail Tuesday afternoon and released after posting at $10,000 bond.
Wright had been the Food Service Director at Oneida for more than 10 years. Her employment contract was allowed to expire on June 30, 2017. The investigation into her alleged misconduct was conducted by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office at the request of Oneida Special School District Director, Dr. Jeanny Hatfield.
According to the Comptroller’s Office, school district officials allowed Wright to use her personal credit cards to make purchases and pay the balances with food service funds. Investigators determined Wright made numerous purchases with school funds that did not benefit OSSD’s food service operations or the school district in general.
Fraudulent purchases included eight computers, three iPads, eight iPods, and more than 110 phone cases and decorations for Samsung cell phones. Wright also used over $2,500 to purchase more than 65 Vera Bradley designer bags.
In April 2017, Wright reportedly admitted to investigators that she purchased numerous items that were not for the benefit of the OSSD food service program. She later returned several carloads of items, many of which had been kept in her basement and were still in their original packaging. Some of these items had been purchased up to five years prior.
Wright’s initial court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. in Scott County Criminal Court in Huntsville.