LITTLE ROCK — A North Little Rock man was sentenced Wednesday to one year and nine months in prison and ordered to pay $182,729 in restitution for conspiring to steal money intended to feed children in low-income areas.
Reuben Nims, 52, pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to commit wire fraud. Nims was the sponsor of a feeding program in Little Rock through his organization, “Blessed Thru Success.”
Nims claimed to have fed as many as 300 children a day at a feeding site in Little Rock, but in fact no children were fed there, according to a news release from Chris Thyer, U.S. attorney for the District of Arkansas.
Nims was recruited by Anthony Waits, husband of Gladys Waits, who worked for the state Department of Human Services and approved Nims’ application. Nims paid Anthony Waits about half of the $182,729 in federal funding he obtained though his false claims, Thyer said.
Nims is the second defendant to be sentenced for involvement in a scheme to fraudulently obtain U.S. Department of Agriculture money intended to fund feeding sites in Arkansas, according to Thyer. Kattie Jordan was sentenced to five years and three months in prison on March 15.
Gladys Waits, Tonique Hatton, Christopher Nichols, Waymon Weeams, James Franklin, Francine Leon, Maria Nelson, Alexis Young and Erica Warren have all pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud USDA feeding programs and are awaiting sentencing. Jacqueline Mills, Dortha Harper and Anthony Waits are scheduled to stand trial March 27 in U.S. District Court in Little Rock.
More than $11 million in USDA feeding program funds have been stolen through the schemes that resulted in the charges, Thyer said. He said the investigation is continuing.