A Little Rock woman has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud a federal government food program. Court records show that 50-year-old Maria Carmen Nelson pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to commit wire fraud.
In exchange, 20 additional counts of wire fraud were dismissed. U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer says Nelson defrauded nearly $576,000 from a U.S. Department of Agriculture program intended to feed children in low-income areas during the school year and is administered by the state Department of Human Services.
Prosecutors say Nelson was recruited by a DHS employee to sponsor food programs in Little Rock and Malvern, and would inflate the number of children who were fed and the two would share the payments.
Prosecutors say the DHS employee no longer works for the department.