Woman convicted of stealing $162k from summer food program

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mid-South woman was convicted after stealing more than $162,000 that was supposed to go towards providing meals for children in poor neighborhoods.

Jeannette Jives-Nealy was convicted on theft and money laundering charges.

While doing business in Memphis as Kingdom Dominion Worldwide Ministries, Inc., the 50-year-old applied and received funds through the Summer Food Service Program for Children, authorities said. She claimed she would be serving more than 33,000 meals in the summer of 2014 and was given $122,000.

Investigators said there was no credible documentation that Jives-Nealy served any meals to children.

When auditors from the state Comptroller’s Office met with Jives-Nealy to review her accounting records, she claimed the records were destroyed by flooding stemming from a plumbing issue.

Auditors, however, toured the area at her Kingdom ministry on Brooks Road and found no evidence of water damage or the records. She told auditors the damaged records were in a dumpster behind the building, but auditors found no records there either.

Bank records showed that Jives-Nealy did not use grant funds to purchase food for children, but instead indicated large cash withdrawals and frequent debit card purchases for retail items and travel. She had listed her son as the representative for the feeding program.

At the time, Jives-Nealy was on probation for a theft and racketeering conviction Florida where she and her sister had fraudulently obtained and misused more than $200,000 in government funds intended for school vouchers, and school breakfasts and lunches. She was sentenced to four years in prison and 10 years’ probation.

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