The suspect, 47-year-old Carol Brandt, is accused of stealing $17,000 from the Montecito Heights Recreation Center. She was the center's director.
Investigators say she pocketed cash that was meant to be used for sports activities, as well as lunch money for kids enrolled in camp. The recreation center has a summer day camp program, which included weekly field trips. Camp participants were asked to bring $10 to cover meals during the trips. Brandt allegedly pocketed the cash and then charged the costs of the field trip, including lunch, to the city's credit card.
In a statement, Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel said Brandt's charges sink her to the "lowest level possible."
"It's reprehensible that a city employee, who should be caring for children, would stoop to this level," she said.
Brandt's arrest followed a two-year investigation. She was arraigned on several felony charges on Wednesday. She posted $50,000 bail and has been released from jail.
Brandt has been on unpaid administrative leave since May 2011.