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A Memphis woman was indicted on charges last week that she allegedly stole federal grant money intended to feed hungry children.
The Tennessee Comptroller’s office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) allege that Jeannette Jives-Nealy stole $162,165 in grant funds through her Kingdom Dominion Worldwide Ministries, Inc.
Jives-Nealy got the funds through the Summer Food Service Program for Children, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program administered by the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS). The program is intended to provide free meals to children living in economically disadvantaged areas during the summer months.
Jives-Nealy, who calls herself “Pastor Prophetess Jeannette Jives Nealy” on the ministry’s Facebook page, claimed she fed thousands of children, but investigators said all of the money was converted to personal use.
She got the money even though she did not give credible documentation to DHS verifying that her group actually bought, prepared, or gave any food to children. Jives-Nealy claimed those records were destroyed by flooding “earlier in the day,” according to the TBI.
DHS ordered Kingdom Dominion ro repay the grant money. Instead, Jives-Nealy was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury last week on one count of theft over $60,000.
“It is disappointing to learn that such a large sum of public money could be provided without any credible documents to support the feeding of children,” Tennessee Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said in a statement. “The victims in this case include not only taxpayers, but the thousands of children who may have otherwise been fed.”