A Forest County grand jury has indicted a former cafeteria manager of Camp Shelby’s Youth ChalleNGe Academy after a search of his restaurant, Jerry’s Seasoned Food, and home turned up large quantities of food the Mississippi National Guard bought for the at-risk youth program.
In addition to the four-count embezzlement indictment, 51-year-old Jerry Howard was served with a restitution demand of $157,385 from the State Auditor’s office.
Authorities arrested Howard on May 24, 2014 after the searches of his restaurant and home.
“This was an unfortunate situation where one individual didn’t share in the beliefs and values of the organization of which he was a part of, and used the trust of that program to personally benefit,” State Auditor Stacey Pickering said.
Pickering said an investigation by his agents concluded that large quantities of invoiced food never appeared on cafeteria menus. Investigators became suspicious when they found that while the number of ChalleNGe Academy participants remained virtually the same, end-of-the-year totals for food purchases increased from $216,000 in 2008 to $306,000 in 2014.
The academy serves at-risk male and female youngsters ages 16-18