US Atty: Former DHS employee sentenced in theft scheme

US Atty: Former DHS employee sentenced in theft scheme

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - A Little Rock woman was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $9.6 million in restitution after her sentencing in a scheme to take United States Department of Agriculture funds intended for hungry children, federal prosecutors said Monday.

According to spokesman Chris Givens of the United States Attorney's Office, Gladys Waits of Little Rock pleaded guilty in March 2016 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In addition to the prison sentence, Waits was also given three years of supervised release.

Federal prosecutors alleged Waits and seven others were involved in the scheme, which involved feeding programs administered through the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Under the program, people wanting to participate must turn in an application to DHS for approval, Givens said, noting if the people are approved, they can provide meals and are reimbursed for the meals they serve.

Waits worked for DHS and was responsible for processing applications, determining eligibility and approving the sites used for the feeding program, from August 2012 to August 2014.

"The sponsors submitted claims with inflated numbers of children fed. Waits also helped these sponsors avoid DHS's detection of the fraud," Givens said.

The investigation is continuing, officials said.

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