Ex-school chief pleads guilty to looting lunch program

CHICAGO (AP) — The former operator of a northern Illinois private school has pleaded guilty to looting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a nutrition program for the poor to finance a luxurious lifestyle.

Pamela Strain, founder of Beacon Hill Academy, which operated in Harvey and as Lighthouse Christian Academy in Lansing, pleaded guilty Thursday to fraud in U.S. District Court.

The charges alleged that from 2009 to 2016, the schools received more than $4 million in federal funds to provide breakfast, lunch, fresh fruit and vegetables and childcare to the disadvantaged.

During that period, the 63-year-old Strain allegedly received $2 million in income. She reported $72,425, in income in her 2013 tax return, allegedly omitting about $466,000 in additional income.