Comptroller finds more missing money in DHS nutrition programs

News release from state comptroller’s office

Comptroller Justin P. Wilson has released investigations detailing serious issues within two organizations working under the Tennessee Department of Human Services’ Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program respectively.

The Comptroller’s Office worked in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General in its investigation of All About Giving, Inc. All About Giving, a nonprofit organization formerly located in Nashville and Knoxville, assisted daycare homes by submitting meal reimbursement requests to DHS for meals provided to children.

Investigators questioned several large cash withdrawals and expenditures made by All About Giving. Questionable expenditures included money spent on Xbox, Google Live, Big Fish Games, Shoe Carnival, Perfume Paradise, and in-state and out-of-state hotel charges. Investigators analyzed $230,569.33 of expenditures and found documentation to support only $19.60 for postage stamp purchases.

Investigators also found that DHS did not verify the legitimacy of 23 daycare feeding sites that were being sponsored by All About Giving. 15 of these feeding sites included apartment buildings, and eight address locations had no dwelling of any type. One of the eight was a road embankment. Several of All About Giving’s listed daycare homes appeared to be owned by family members of the CEO.

On January 3, 2017, the Chief Executive Officer of All About Giving, Inc., LaShane Hayes, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud in federal court. She will be sentenced on April 12, 2017.

The second investigation involved Heal Thyself Deliverance Temple (HTDT) in Memphis. This organization operated a Summer Food Service Program for low-income children in 2015. DHS referred HTDT to the Comptroller’s Office in May 2016 after DHS determined there was a need for additional investigation.

Comptroller investigators determined that HTDT staff withdrew $12,910 in cash from the organization’s official bank account without any documentation to support the money was used for the food service program.

HTDT was also paid an extra $13,047.81 after it filed reimbursement claims for more meals than were actually served to children. Additionally, several HTDT employees told investigators that numerous meal count sheets were falsified, and some forms included forged signatures.

The findings related to HTDT have been reviewed with the district attorney general for the Thirtieth Judicial District.

“We continue to see fraud, waste and abuse within DHS food programs,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “I am hopeful DHS is beginning to recognize the scope of this problem, and is taking meaningful steps to address these serious issues.”

Note: The full Heal Thyself Deliverance Temple report is HERE; the All About Giving report is HERE.

One Response to Comptroller finds more missing money in DHS nutrition programs

  • Michael Lottman says:

    This (and other) incompetence has been going on in DHS for years, and nothing seems to happen to anybody, nothing seems to change. The former director finally resigned a few weeks ago and was replaced by someone else from within who sounds like she has a good background. We will see if things are different. Note that Haslam doesn’t like to bring in outsiders to fix things because … well, what do you think?

    Hope for the best, is all you can do with this administration.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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