Women Steal $253K From Program Meant To Feed Poor Children

Connor D. Wolf | Reporter

Two Arkansas women pleaded guilty to fraudulently taking $253,817 from a program Friday intended to feed children in low-income areas.

Erica Warren and Alexis Young were able to scam the program by committing mail fraud. The Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) helps provide children with food. Those who wish to participate can submit an application and be reimbursed for the children they feed. Warren submitted an application with inflated numbers.

“Warren operated as a sponsor for a feeding program through an organization called ‘Write of Passage.'” the Department of Justice detailed in a press release. “Warren and Young admitted that they conspired to form Write of Passage to obtain funds fraudulently from the feeding program.”

The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) is tasked with approving applications. Young worked for DHS at the time and helped Warren to get her fraudulent application approved. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides the funds for the program.

“Write of Passage was paid $253,817.44,”  the Department of Justice continued. “Warren and Young both shared in the proceeds from these inflated claims as Warren paid Young cash and indirectly by checks made payable to one of Young’s relatives.”

The women could face 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The USDA, Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service have been involved in an ongoing investigation to uncover fraud in the program. Warren and Young are the fourth and fifth people to plead guilty in the investigation thus far.

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Tags : arkansas department of agriculture federal bureau of investigation
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