Sixth Person Indicted for Role in Federal Feeding Program Fraud
LITTLE ROCK—Another feeding program sponsor has been indicted for his role in a scheme to steal federal money. Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced today that Reuben Nims, age 51, of Little Rock, has been arrested after the filing of a 10-count indictment.
The indictment, returned by a Federal Grand Jury on August 5, 2015, charges Nims with mail fraud as part of a scheme to fraudulently obtain United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program funds. Following his arrest Tuesday Nims was arraigned and released on bond by Judge Joe J. Volpe.
The USDA funds the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program, which includes an at-risk afterschool component. In Arkansas, the feeding programs are administered by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS). Sponsors who want to participate in the feeding programs must submit an application to DHS for approval. Once approved, they can provide meals as part of the feeding program and be reimbursed based on the number of eligible meals they serve.
The indictment states that Nims operated as a sponsor for a feeding program through an organization called Blessed Thru Success. It alleges that a relative of Nims worked for DHS and processed applications from sponsors applying to participate in the feeding programs.
The indictment alleges that Nims applied with DHS to participate as a sponsor and that his relative at DHS approved his applications. The indictment states that he falsely represented his average daily attendance and the number of meals provided; no children were actually fed. In this way, Nims stole over $182,000 of federal funds, according to the indictment.
“With reportedly over 200,000 children at risk of hunger in Arkansas because they are not getting nutritious food, this indictment is a small step toward ensuring the funding for nutritious feeding programs in Arkansas is actually feeding children,” Thyer said. “This is the third indictment and sixth person charged in connection to feeding programs in Arkansas. In December 2014, my office indicted three individuals for their roles in a conspiracy to steal federal money through feeding programs administered by the Department of Agriculture. I expect that as the investigation into Arkansas’ feeding programs continue, there will be additional indictments. We will not tolerate the blatant disregard of the welfare of Arkansas’ children by those who steal the very money meant to alleviate the burgeoning need to put nutritious food in the mouths of hungry children. If you are aware of any fraudulent activity regarding these feeding programs, please e-mail that information to my office at USAARE.FeedingProgramFraud@usdoj.gov.”
The statutory penalty for mail fraud is not more than 20 years’ imprisonment, not more than a $250,000 fine, or both, and not more than three years’ supervised release.
The investigation is ongoing and is conducted by the United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, United States Department of Agriculture—Office of the Inspector General, and United States Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jana Harris and Allison W. Bragg.
An indictment contains only allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.