Charity organizers that worked to feed hungry are indicted

The leaders of a Georgia charitable organization that had operated to feed the hungry are now facing allegations of fraud. The Christian charity group closed its doors in September after 17 years of providing low cost food to the needy. The organization served as a nutritional assistance program by purchasing large amounts of food in bulk, at a discount, and then repackaging it and selling it to needy individuals and families. However, prosecutors allege that the group would sell the food to anyone.

The organization was created in 1994, working with about 30 families just east of Atlanta. It eventually grew to serve more than 500,000 each month. But now federal prosecutors are claiming that the founders and two others associated with the group used the group’s funds for personal benefit without approval of the organization’s board of directors.

The people that the non-profit organization served could request basic food staples for about half the price of buying them at a regular grocery store. But among the allegations leveled by prosecutors, is that the suspects would receive money directly from their vendors and the vendors would then increase the amounts of their invoices to be paid by the organization.

The criminal charges against the leaders of the organization include a litany of fraud-related charges. Prosecutors say that if convicted, the founders of this organization could face up to 20 years in prison and fines of more than $250,000 for each charge.

The ministry ceased operations in September citing the rising costs of fuel and food.

Source: CBS News, “Angel Food Ministries officials face fraud charges,” Dec. 2, 2011