Man who stole millions from children's food program ordered to pay it back

Man who stole millions from children's food program ordered to pay it back

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A federal judge ordered a man found guilty of stealing millions from a children's food program to pay restitution and spend 175 months in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge James M. Moody sentenced Anthony Waits, 38, of England for his role in the multi-million dollar scheme.

In addition to the lengthy prison sentence, the judge ordered Waits to serve three years of supervised release and pay $3,316,280.85 in restitution.

A jury convicted Waits of conspiracy to commit wire fraud following an 8-day trial in April.

According to Cody Hiland, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Waits recruited sponsors to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's feeding programs which provides meals to low-income children. Sponsors are reimbursed for eligible meals they serve.

Hiland said the sponsors Waits recruited paid him a percentage of the money they received from the feeding program. Five of those sponsors have pleaded guilty to their involvement and admitted to making payments to Waits.

"The sponsors who Waits recruited received over $3.3 million in federal funds meant to feed children," Hiland said in a Friday news release. "Many testified at trial that they paid Waits approximately 40 percent of what they received."

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