Food workers, pest control contractor accused

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A West Tennessee grand jury has indicted three people, charging them with stealing from a public school system's food service budget.

TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said Anita "Joyce" Owen and Jerlene Jones - both of Somerville - and Arnett Montague Sr. of Memphis were arrested by agents Monday.

Owen worked as the food service supervisor for Fayette County schools.

"I guess you could call her a ringleader," Helm said.

Helm said Owen, 74, contracted pest control services to a company owned by Montague and the indictments allege a scheme of kickbacks, double billing and charges for work not performed.

Owen and Montague, 73, are accused of pocketing more than $60,000 each.

"The amount of money that we found missing was probably close to $200,000," Helm said.

Jones, a 72-year-old retired food service employee, is accused of accepting thousands of dollars in extra pay when Owen added hours to her time sheet over several years.

Helm said the case is closed, and the TBI does not expect further arrests to come from the investigation.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.  The AP contributed to this story.