Dallas, Texas – In a striking culmination of a years-long investigation into fraudulent activity perpetrated against a federal program for children’s food aid, a Dallas man has been meted out a sentence of 18 months in federal custody, after defrauding the program to the tune of $2.3 million. This development was disclosed by the Northern District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office earlier this week.
The sentence comes after suspect entered guilty plea
The man, identified as Michael Munson, aged 47, had previously entered a guilty plea in July 2022, conceding to his engagement in fraudulent activities targeting the summer food service program, a federal initiative aimed at providing nutritious meals to underprivileged children during the summer break.
In a courtroom presided over by U.S. District Judge Ada Brown, Munson was handed down the sentence on Monday. Munson’s legal representative, Attorney Chris Knox, extended appreciation towards the United States Attorney’s Office and the Court, remarking in a written statement, “I applaud the United States Attorney’s Office and the Court for taking into consideration all the good Mr. Munson has done in this world when determining a fair sentence in this case.”
The Summer Food Service Program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, plays a crucial role in mitigating hunger amongst low-income children by providing them with free meals during the summer months when schools are not operational.
Munson claimed to have given more than 2.4 million meals for children through the organization he founded
Prosecutors revealed that Munson had purported to have distributed in excess of 2.4 million meals to children through the organization he established, the Heloise Munson Foundation. In stark contrast to these claims, evidence indicated that Munson had provided fewer than 1 million meals, illicitly pocketing reimbursements intended for an additional 1.4 million meals that were never served.
The indictment against Munson further elucidated that he knowingly exaggerated the quantity of meals his foundation delivered and falsified the count of locations serviced by his foundation. This fraudulent scheme persisted from 2008 until 2014. The court heard that Munson compensated an individual $75,000 to fabricate invoices for a non-existent entity, Janus Wholesale Food, Inc. During 2013, Munson provided false testimony under oath in an administrative hearing, asserting that his foundation had procured food supplies from Janus, prosecutors said. Fabricated documents were also submitted by Munson, falsely asserting that Janus had sold food, milk, and juice to his foundation, according to the news release.
The conviction and subsequent sentencing of Munson were carried out under a statute enacted in 1977 specifically to combat fraudulent activities within the Summer Food Service Program, the attorney’s office stated. Munson had been formally indicted in August 2018.