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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Little Rock Man Steals Money Meant To Feed Hungry Children, Pleads Guilty

LITTLE ROCK—Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced Tuesday that Reuben Nims, 52, of Little Rock, pled guilty to an Information charging him with conspiring to commit mail fraud. Nims conspired to steal money intended to feed children in low income areas during the school year.

Tuesday’s plea hearing took place in Little Rock before United States District Judge James M. Moody, Jr., who will sentence Nims at a later date.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program, which includes an at-risk after school component. In Arkansas, the feeding programs are administered by 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 program, and they are reimbursed for the eligible meals they serve.

Nims was a sponsor for a feeding program through an organization called "Blessed Thru Success." Nims had one approved feeding site on Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock, where he claimed as many as 300 children were fed each day. No children were ever actually fed there. In this way, Nims stole over $182,000 in USDA funds that were intended to feed children in need. DHS paid this money to Nims by checks that were mailed to his home.

Nims admitted that he was recruited by Anthony Waits, who has been indicted on similar charges in Case No. 4:14CR00250 JM. Waits’ wife, Gladys Waits, worked for DHS and approved Nims’ application. She has also been indicted on similar charges in Case No. 4:14CR00250 JM. The plan was for Nims to pay Anthony Waits a percentage of the money Nims received. Out of the money Nims received, he withdrew approximately $130,000 in cash. Nims paid Anthony Waits approximately 50% of the total amount of money he received.

Nims is the sixth person to plead guilty concerning the theft of USDA feeding program funds for children. Previous charges filed in this investigation detail alleged fraud involving over $10 million in USDA feeding program funds.

The statutory penalty for conspiracy to commit mail fraud is not more than 20 years imprisonment, not more than a $250,000 fine, or both, and not more than three years supervised release.

The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by the USDA–Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigations, and United States Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jana Harris and Allison W. Bragg.

If you are aware of any fraudulent activity regarding these feeding programs, please email that information to USAARE.FeedingProgramFraud@usdoj.gov.

Topic: 
Public Corruption
Updated March 9, 2016