A pair of sisters who were employed as cafeteria workers are reported to have stolen nearly one half million dollars from the Connecticut school system over the course of five years.
Joanne Pascarelli, 61 of Stratford and her sister Marie Wilson, 67 of Wilton, peacefully turned themselves into the New Canaan police after warrants were issued for both women’s arrests. They were then both charged with larceny and knowingly underreporting cash totals which allowed them to allegedly steal the amount of $478,588 from both the Saxe Middle School and New Canaan High Schools from the span of 2012 to 2017.
Mark Sherman, Wilson’s lawyer, stated that the allegations were false and that Wilson planned to plead not guilty at her upcoming arraignment. Sherman went on to say:
“There is much more to this story. Marie is innocent and did not personally divert a single nickel of town money for personal gain. She is not going to be scapegoated for this missing money.”
An attorney for Pascarelli could not be reached or identified at this time.
Although both women were released after each posted a $50,000 bond, they are scheduled to be back in court for their arraignments later in August.
For years, money in the tens of thousands kept disappearing from the school’s funds, and officials were stumped. At least that is until recently.
Warrants for the women’s arrest stated that Wilson, who was responsible for tallying up the day’s receipts at the New Canaan High School allegedly stole around $350,000 over the suspected five-year span. Pascarelli, on the other hand, is charged with stealing mainly larger bills from the till between the Saxe Middle School lunch periods.
The school system started an investigation into the discrepancies in late 2017, with the warrants being issued in the last week in the case.