Marianna man sentenced in USDA fraud case

Marianna man sentenced in USDA fraud case

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - A Lee County man will spend the next two years in prison and will pay over $380,000 in restitution after pleading guilty in a federal wire fraud case involving United States Department of Agriculture feeding programs for low-income children, United States Attorney Chris Thyer said.

James E. Franklin of Marianna was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Price Marshall during a hearing Tuesday. Franklin pleaded guilty Sept. 16 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The prison term will be followed by two years of supervised release, Thyer, from Jonesboro said.

In a press release, Thyer said the feeding programs were administered through the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Anyone who wanted to participate had to submit an application to DHS for approval.

"Franklin was a sponsor for a feeding program through an organization called 'JL&N Outreach.' Franklin had two approved feeding site locations, one in Hughes, Arkansas and the other in Brinkley, Arkansas. Franklin claimed that he fed as many as 244 children a day in Hughes and as many as 287 children a day in Brinkley," Thyer said in a news release. "According to witnesses, no more than ten children per day were fed in Brinkley and no more than 15 children per day were fed in Hughes."

The investigation is still ongoing, Thyer said.

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