A former Prince Georges County, Md. Board of Education member and Government Accountability Office employee was sentenced April 29 to three years of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service after being found guilty of misusing the federal free lunch program to benefit her own child.
The charges against Lynette Mundey included a felony theft-scheme, filing a false public assistance application, welfare fraud, and other related charges.
“The misconduct that was presented by the state is what I find appalling,” said Judge Michael R. Pearson, who presided over the hearing. He called Mundey’s behavior “berating and horrific.”
A 2014 audit by the U.S. Government Accountability Office of the School Meals Program found that Mundey’s children, along with those of six other employees, received free or reduced priced lunches despite their parents’ high salaries. An applicant to the School Meals Program must make between $11,600 and $40,000 depending on their household to be eligible. Mundey was earning over $70,000 but applied despite her ineligibility, which she said was a mistake. The other employees were also found guilty and are serving similar sentences.
According to Washington, D.C. radio station WTOP, Mundey’s attorney, Bruce A. Johnson, Jr., stated in court that Mundey is on paid administrative leave and is in the process of being fired. She resigned from the school board last June and was indicted in August.
“She always has been an honor student and a person that people looked up to,” her uncle said. “I’m asking the court to be reasonable, she’s studying for her doctorate.”
Mundey, wearing glasses and dressed in a green sweater and black pants, also spoke to the judge. She said her position on the board was one she took “very seriously.”
Mundey’s family said they were relieved Mundey did not receive a prison term.
“I thought what the judge did was fair,” her mother, Brenda Mundey, told the AFRO.
“The case tried to make me out as a schemer against the school system,” Mundey told the AFRO. She said the alleged cost of her actions was $1,300, and attributed some fault to “bad management of records” by the board. “But I’m glad that he [Pearson] did not see me as a monster.”
According to The Washington Post, Mundey plans to appeal her conviction.