LITTLE ROCK, AR (WMC) - A Pine Bluff, Arkansas, man pleaded guilty Friday to stealing more than $1 million intended to feed children in low-income areas.
Elbert Harris, 57, admitted at a plea hearing that he was a sponsor for the feeding program Greater Faith Ministries between 2012 and 2015.
A mugshot for Harris was not immediately available.
The feeding program had locations in Pine Bluff, Altheimer, and Wabbaseka.
Harris said he falsely claimed that he served as many as 175 children at some of his feeding sites, inflating the number of children who were actually served.
Harris submitted approximately 44 claims. Because of the inflated claims, Harris received approximately $1,390,961.05 from the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
In Arkansas, the feeding programs are administered by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Sponsors who want to participate in the feeding programs must submit an application to DHS for approval.
After they are approved, sponsors can provide meals as part of the feeding program, and they are reimbursed for the eligible meals they serve.
Harris is the 14th person to plead guilty concerning the theft of USDA feeding program funds for children. He will be sentenced at a later date.
In addition to those who have pleaded guilty, two defendants have been convicted at trial. Previous charges filed in this investigation detail fraud involving more than $10 million in USDA feeding program funds.
If you are aware of any fraudulent activity regarding these feeding programs, please email that information to USAARE.FeedingProgramFraud@usdoj.gov.