Texas suspects indicted in $4 million fraudulent youth meal program in Pa.

Pennsylvania
School lunch generic

AP image

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WKBN) – Texas suspects have been indicted on charges that they bilked the United States Government out of millions of dollars connected to a feeding program in Pennsylvania and used that money to travel and buy luxury items.

Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced Wednesday that Charles Simpson, 43, of Southlake, Texas, Tanisha Jackson, 49, and Paige Jackson, 29, both of Lancaster, Texas, were indicted on charges that they used their organization Helping Others in Need (HOIN) to bilk the government out of $4 million connected to an after-school and summer child feeding program for underprivileged youth in Pennsylvania.

The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The suspects are charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

According to prosecutors, Simpson, Tanisha Jackson, and Paige Jackson controlled and operated HOIN. While they were excluded from participating in the feeding programs in other states, they submitted false documentation to Pennsylvania, causing them to receive funds for the program from 2015 to 2019.

The indictment alleges that both Simpson and Tanisha Paige Jackson used aliases in HOIN’s applications to the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a means to hide their involvement and falsely certify that they had not been excluded from the feeding programs.

The indictment also alleges that HOIN submitted claims for hundreds of thousands of meals that were never served by either inflating the number of meals that were served or by seeking reimbursements for meals purportedly served on days on which the identified feeding site was not operating at all.

Simpson and Tanisha Jackson allegedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in HOIN reimbursements on shopping sprees at high-end apparel stores, personal air travel and lodging, and the acquisition of at
least nine luxury vehicles, including a Bentley, two Land Rovers, two Maseratis, two Mercedes, a
Hummer, and a Porsche, according to prosecutors.

The defendants also allegedly withdrew cash from HOIN bank accounts in excess of $10,000 on more than a dozen occasions.

In addition, Simpson is charged with obstruction of justice based on multiple lies he allegedly told federal law enforcement officers during a voluntary interview.

“The defendants allegedly created a nonprofit to provide meals to underprivileged children in our area, but instead billed and were reimbursed for services they never provided; they then used those ill-gotten funds for extravagant personal luxury purchases,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kaufman. “Submitting fraudulent claims equals stealing, and those who perpetrate financial fraud against the government will be vigorously prosecuted.”

Charles Simpson and Paige Jackson were arrested Tuesday in the Dallas area. Tanisha Jackson remains at large.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on WKBN.com