A lot of public officials around here, from former county assessor John Noguez to a pair of city building inspectors, have been accused of gluttony at the taxpayers' buffet.

But authorities say former L.A. city Recreation and Parks official Carol Brandt really did steal lunch money. In fact they allege she ended up with $15,000 worth of kids' lunch money and other park-user funds that weren't hers to keep.

The 47-year-old was charged this week with …

… suspicion of embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, and “public officer crime,” according to the District Attorney's charges. The office says Brandt, 47, did this between 2009 and 2010.

City controller Wendy Greuel, who cracked the case after being tipped off to it, told the Weekly:

We received from the Recreation and Parks department a request to investigate potential embezzlement of funds and we began to look into it. What you see is a result of our investigation being turned over to the District Attorney. It's the lowest of the low. It's stealing kids' lunch money.

Brandt is accused of pocketing cash from kids who paid $10 each for food during a summer day camp program's weekly field trips.

Greuel's office says Brandt put the lunches on a city credit card. She was the director of the Montecito Heights Recreation Center.

The woman also took funds from the Guatemex soccer team for field permits, adult basketball teams and snack bars, Greuel's office alleged. It all added up to as much as $15,000, Greuel's office says.

Worth it? Hell no. If convicted Brandt could do state prison time.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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