Non-Profit Director Indicted For Allegedly Stealing Millions From Program Providing Meals To Poor Children

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The executive director of a Missouri nonprofit allegedly embezzled millions from a program meant to feed low-income children, according to an indictment announced Thursday.

Connie Bobo, 44, of the New Heights Community Resource Center in Bridgeton, a suburb of St. Louis, has been indicted on multiple counts, including wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The nonprofit received funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), managed by the state, intended to provide meals to underprivileged school-aged children outside of school hours, according to a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Between February 2019 and March 2022, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services disbursed about $11 million to the nonprofit. Bobo claimed nearly six million meals were served, but the indictment alleges that purchases only accounted for less than three million meals, the Associated Press reported.

“Bobo used $4.3 million to purchase a nearly $1 million home for herself, other homes for relatives and to make a $2.2 million commercial real estate investment,” the DOJ press release reads. “She spent more on luxury goods and gave nearly $1.4 million to her romantic partner, who spent $211,907 on a 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 Wagon.”

If convicted, Bobo could face over 20 years in prison, with authorities seeking restitution, including the forfeiture of properties acquired through the alleged misappropriated funds, according to the AP. (RELATED: Republican Lawmaker Sentenced To Prison For COVID-19 Relief Fraud)

“This indictment shows that we will aggressively pursue those who defraud a program intended to feed needy children, and those who exploited loopholes created by a global pandemic,” U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming said in the release.