Federal prosecutors say three women have been charged in a plot to steal money from a food program for the poor.
U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer identified the three as 39-year-old Jacqueline Mills of Helena-West Helena, 37-year-old Tonique Hatton of North Little Rock and 34-year-old Gladys Elise King of England. A 76-count indictment was unsealed Thursday.
Prosecutors said Mills inflated Child and Adult Care Feeding Program numbers in an effort to receive excess federal payments. Thyer said Mills bribed the others in return for protection from government scrutiny.
Thyer said at a news conference that Mills received $2.5 million from the program but that around $1 million went to personal bank accounts. All three pleaded not guilty in court Thursday afternoon and were set for trial on Jan. 20.