Federal Judge James Moody has sentenced Gladys Waits,
37, to nine years in federal prison for her role in defrauding more than $9 million in federal money sent to Arkansas to feed poor children.
He ordered $9.6 million in restitution, though little of that is likely to be seen.
The Department of Human Services
oversees USDA-financed programs to provide meals to poor children after school and during the summer. Waits was
the eighth person to be sentenced and a key player. Her sentence matched the longest given so far. Three others have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
According to a Justice Department news release, Waits worked at DHS and processed applications from potential sponsors of feeding programs. She approved programs for seven of those charged between August 2012 and August 2014. They submitted inflated claims for reimbursement and Waits helped them avoid detection, the release said. She was accused of receiving bribes from the sponsors in checks payable to her and to relatives, including her husband, Anthony, who allegedly recruited sponsors. They paid a percentage of proceeds back to Anthony Waits, the government said.