Bra-Stuffing School Money Embezzler Sentenced to Five Years

Caught stuffing school money into her bra and walking out the door, the former accountant of a Rialto school district was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday for embezzling public funds.

Judith Oakes pleaded guilty to eight counts of stealing $1.8 million in public funds from the Rilato Unified School District in December.

The 48-year-old former accountant for the district's nutrition services department was arrested Aug. 8, 2013, on suspicion of grand theft, embezzlement and burglary. She resigned a day later.

Surveillance cameras caught her stuffing thousands of school district dollars into her bra and bag on at least two occasions.

According to her attorney, Oakes is relieved that the trial is over.

Investigators connected her to about $1.8 million in stolen money, but they believe she may have actually taken more than $3 million over her 25-year career.

"Instead of doing her job in an ethical manner, she re-purposed those funds for her own gain," Rialto Police Sgt. David Shephard said.

That money supported a lavish lifestyle — first-class plane tickets, front-row seats at the NCAA Final Four tournament.

"She took very expensive and lavish trips to concerts, sporting events," Rialto Police Capt. Randy de Anda said.

Investigators said Oakes had a monthly credit card bill of $10,000 to $12,000, which she always paid in full with cash.

"She's going to be doing a substantial amount of custody time for somebody who's lived a lavish life," prosecutor Jason Liso said.

With time served, Oakes could be out of jail in two-and-a-half years. She'll try to pay back the money she stole, her defense attorney said.

The district is making sure this doesn't happen again.

"There are a lot of procedural changes that we have already implemented since this had happened," said Syeda Jafri of the Rialto Unified School District.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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