Angel Food higher-ups indicted for fraud
Back in September, officials with Parkview United Methodist Church in Benton got word out to its members that a charity in which the organization had volunteered for years — Angel Food Ministries — had sent out word that the group was calling it quits.
First Arkansas News investigated the issue and learned very little. In essence,the organization posted a message on its Internet site blaming the bad economy for the decision to shut down the organization. If a 49-count federal indictment filed against Angel Food’s founders, their son and an employee is proven true, then the “bad economy” excuse will clearly fail.
Angel Food was started 17 years ago in George by Pastors Linda and Joe Wingo for the purpose of buying food in bulk and distributing it at discount prices to families in need. The Monroe, Ga.based non-profit organization operated, in part, through an extensive network of churches throughout he United States — members of congregations volunteered to collect food and distribute it locally to families who signed up for the program. In Saline County, the effort was largely nondenominational — Baptists, Methodists and members of other denominations worked in tandem to build a system through which food was efficiently distributed to families in need of it.
Angel Food ministries, in the past 17 years, has helped around 500,000 families in 43 states.
The indictment — filed against the Wingos, their son Andrew and employee Harry Michaels — alleges the four essentially diverted Angel Food funds for their own uses. The indictment was filed Tuesday by Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
“As alleged in the indictment, these defendants raised money in the name of Christian charity, and then used a number of schemes to defraud the organization,” Moore said in a news release.
Click here to see a copy of the aforementioned news release, which details the allegations against the Wingos and Michaels and alleges that the four stole millions of dollars from Angel Food.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.