SWAR man pleads guilty to stealing money from non-profit - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

SWAR man pleads guilty to stealing money from non-profit

(Source: Raycom Images) (Source: Raycom Images)

An El Dorado, AR man is set to be sentenced after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

According to court records, 69-year-old Lawrence Shelton and two others faked a number of children attended a non-profit program they were in charge of in order to collect the overpayment from the government.

Shelton was the Chief Executive Officer, director, and founder of 2nd Chance, a nonprofit organization that focused on “at risk” children from low-income households by helping to make them self-reliant and productive citizens through education and mentoring.

The organization received federal funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a federal grant and was managed by Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS). 

A joint investigation by the FBI and the IRS - Criminal Investigation Division revealed that fraudulent claims were electronically submitted to DHS by 2ND CHANCE program director and co-defendant, Domanique Robinson, about the number of children attending the program.

Robinson was responsible for receiving attendance sheets from each 2nd CHANCE location and submitting claims with attendance numbers to DHS for funding/reimbursement.

Co-defendant, Ronald Murphy was the owner of South West Economic Development Association (SWEDA).  SWEDA served as a food vendor for the organization's  after school and summer program from late 2011 until June 2014.

Shelton, Robinson and Murphy allegedly falsified the claims to DHS by inflating or making up the number of children in attendance. The fake claims resulted in overpayment made by DHS that were direct deposited into 2nd CHANCE bank accounts by interstate wire communications. 

Shelton, Robinson, Murphy, and others personally benefited from the excess funds.  The total overpayment made by DHS exceeded $250,000 during the period of fraudulent activity.

Domanique Robinson and Ronald Murphy each pleaded guilty in January 2016. All three of them will be sentenced after the courts review their prior criminal records, their roles in the offense and the characteristics of the violations.

They could face up to 20 years in prison and or a fine about $500,000.

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