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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 21, 2019

Little Rock Man Sentenced to Prison for His Role in Stealing Money Intended to Feed Hungry Children

LITTLE ROCK—A Little Rock man was sentenced for his role in a scheme that defrauded a government program intended to feed Arkansas children in low income areas. Nigel Hall, 49, of Little Rock, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes.

Judge Holmes also sentenced Hall, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud on February 12, 2018, to three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment. Hall was also ordered to pay $882,657.95 in restitution. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) feeding programs in Arkansas are administered through the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS). Sponsors who want to participate in the feeding programs must submit an application to DHS for approval. After they are approved, they can provide meals as part of the feeding programs, and they are reimbursed for the eligible meals they serve.

“Stealing money from a program designed to feed hungry children is reprehensible,” said Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “These funds were intended to provide food for children in Arkansas, not to line the pockets of those who commit fraud. Today’s sentence sends a message that we will find and prosecute those who abuse these programs and take advantage of the most vulnerable among us.”

Hall was a sponsor for a feeding program through an organization called “Creative Minds.” Hall had four approved feeding site locations, which were located in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Mabelvale, and Woodson. Hall submitted fraudulent claims to DHS, claiming to have fed many more children than were actually fed, and then DHS would reimburse him for that amount. Hall submitted claims of up to 846 children per day at some of his feeding sites, but at two of those sites, no children were fed. At a third location, fewer than 50 children were actually fed.

Hall is the 17th defendant sentenced who was charged in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain USDA program funds intended to feed children in low income areas. Other defendants include: Kattie Jordan (63 months imprisonment on March 15, 2016); Reuben Nims (21 months imprisonment on November 2, 2016); Tonique Hatton (108 months imprisonment on January 4, 2017); James Franklin (24 months imprisonment on January 10, 2017); Maria Nelson (30 months imprisonment on January 31, 2017); Michael Lee (30 months imprisonment on May 1, 2017); Christopher Nichols (3 years probation on May 16, 2017); Gladys Waits (108 months imprisonment on July 17, 2017); Alexis Young (18 months imprisonment on August 18, 2017); Erica Warren (18 months imprisonment on August 18, 2017); Francine Leon (34 months imprisonment on September 21, 2017); Anthony Waits (175 months imprisonment on October 20, 2017); Jacqueline Mills (150 months imprisonment on December 6, 2017); Dorothy Harper (33 months imprisonment on January 9, 2018); Waymon Weeams (15 months imprisonment on February 15, 2018); and Elbert Harris (33 months imprisonment on February 28, 2018).

Debora Washington, Zina Lambert, and Cedric Maxwell have been charged in separate cases with conduct related to this scheme and are awaiting a jury trial.

Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Dax Roberson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the USDA – Office of Inspector General, Southwest Region, announced today’s sentencing. The investigation is still ongoing and continues to be conducted by the USDA–Office of Inspector General and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jana Harris, Allison W. Bragg, and Cameron McCree.

 

This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is available on-line at:
http://www.justice.gov/edar

Twitter:
@EDARNEWS

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated February 21, 2019