WEBSTER PARISH, La. (KSLA) - The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced on Friday, May 24, Myrna Thomas Quarles, 58, of Cotton Valley, Louisiana was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly embezzling more than $1 million from a federal feeding program for low-income youth.
Quarles was charged with five counts of theft of government property, five counts of forged securities of the states and private entities and 27 counts of money laundering.
According to court documents, Quarles was the director of the Greater Horizon Developmental Services, a non-profit headquartered in Webster Parish. Greater Horizons received reimbursements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Feeding Service Program (SFSP), conducted through the state of Louisiana.
From 2014-2015, the nonprofit program submitted more than $1 million in reimbursement claims that immensely inflated the of meals provided. After Greater Horizons received the funds, Quarles allegedly wrote checks that were made payable to vendors and other third parties, but were allegedly deposited into a personal financial account.
If convicted she faces a maximum prison term of 10 years for each count of theft and forgery and 20 years for each count of money laundering. Quarles also faces up to five years of supervised release, a $500,000 fine and restitution, as well as the seizure of real estate and equipment purchases with the SFSP funds.
The investigation was a collaborative effort by the FBI, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, State of Louisiana and Office of State Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian C. Flanagan and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook will be prosecuting the case.