Angel Food Ministries founder gets 7-year prison sentence

Angel Food Ministries founder Joe Wingo, his wife Linda and their son Andy were sentenced as a result of their guilty pleas in a federal fraud case involving the former nonprofit.

Joe Wingo received a 7-year prison sentence Thursday, the Athens Banner-Herald Reported. Wingo’s wife, Linda received five years’ probation. Andy Wingo, the couple’s son, received a 7-year-sentence.

Read more about the sentencing at the Banner-Herald’s website.

 Reported previously:

Joe and Linda Wingo, the husband-and-wife founders of the food nonprofit Angel Food Ministries, and their son Andy have pleaded guilty to federal charges, according to court records (scroll down for documents).

In December 2011, a Georgia grand jury indicted the three (and an employee of AFM) on fraud and other charges related to their operation of AFM. The nonprofit bought food, packaged it in boxes and sold it at a discount through distribution sites — including several in York County at one point — thus helping families stretch their budgets in tough economic times.

But a York Daily Record/Sunday News investigation, reported by Melissa Nann Burke and published in January 2009, revealed that the founding family was drawing millions in salary and making loans to themselves via Angel Food Ministries.

On Feb. 11, agents from the FBI and from IRS’ criminal services division searched AFM’s Monroe, Ga. headquarters. The next day, Joe and Linda Wingo met in York with representatives of local AFM distribution sites to answer questions about the nonprofit’s finances.

AFM went out of business in the fall of 2011.

Court records indicate that this week:

  • Joe Wingo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces a possible maximum sentence that would include 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
  • Linda Wingo pleaded guilty to concealment of a felony. She faces a maximum sentence that would include three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
  • Andy Wingo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces a possible maximum sentence that would include 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
  • Former AFM employee Harry Michaels pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He faces a maximum penalty that would include five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

One thing the AFM case does is put the focus on whether charities and nonprofits are doing the things they say they’re going to do when you give them money. Here are some resources for researching charities.

About Scott Blanchard

Sunday editor at the York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.
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