A Dallas man who scammed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program out of more than $2.3 million was sentenced yesterday to a year and a half in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Michael Anthony Munson, the 47-year-old founder of the Heloise Munson Foundation, was indicted in August 2018 and pleaded guilty in July 2022 to summer food service program fraud. He was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Ada Brown, who is expected to order restitution later this week.
Mr. Munson was charged, convicted, and sentenced under 42 U.S.C. § 1761(o)(1), a statute Congress enacted in 1977 to address fraud in the Summer Food Service Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative that provides free meals to children in low-income areas when school is not in session.
According to plea papers, Mr. Munson admitted that over the course of seven years, from 2008 to 2014, he knowingly inflated meal counts for summer food sites his foundation serviced and even provided false meal counts for sites it did not actually service.
He further admitted that in response to an inquiry into the legitimacy of these claims, he paid an individual $75,000 who fabricated invoices from a fictitious company, Janus Wholesale Food, Inc., indicating that the foundation had purchased enough food, milk, and juice to provide the number of meals it claimed to have provided.
In October 2013, he testified under oath at an administrative hearing that the Heloise Munson Foundation had purchased food from Janus. He also submitted a fabricated affidavit from the purported Director of Sales for Janus, falsely stating that Janus sold food, milk, and juice to the foundation.
According to court documents, Mr. Munson claimed to have provided more than 2.4 million meals to needy children. In reality, he provided fewer than 1 million meals, pocketing fraudulently-obtained reimbursements for more than 1.4 million meals that were never provided.