Founders of Angel Food Ministries plead guilty

The founders of Angel Food Ministries, a now defunct faith-based nonprofit, pleaded guilty to federal charges Monday, the Walton Tribune has reported.

Pastors Joe and Linda Wingo and one son, Andy, will be sentenced May 29 in Macon for money laundering and other charges.

The nonprofit started as way to provide food to laid-off millworkers. It grew into a $140 million-a-year nonprofit that sold boxes of low-cost food through a nationwide network of churches and civic organizations. That came to an end in 2009 when federal authorities raided the nonprofit and seized financial records.

A 71-page indictment alleged they used ministry bank accounts for their own personal benefit, shuffling money through the numerous companies and companies owned by the Wingos, according to reporting by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There were also allegations of kickbacks from food vendors, personal use of a jet, use of ministry credit cards for personal purchases, and personal trips to New York, Las Vegas and other places.

The Monroe newspaper reported Joe Wingo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a fine to be determined by the court. He remains in U.S. Marshals Service custody.

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Linda Wingo pleaded guilty to misprision (concealment) of a felony and will serve probation and a fine to be determined by court and is currently on supervised release.

Andy Wingo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and faces a maximum sentence of seven years and a fine to be determined by court. He also remains in U.S. Marshals Service custody.

Business associate Harry Michaels pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and faces a maximum sentence of five years and a fine to be determined by the court.

The nonprofit closed its doors after a series of layoffs in September 2011.

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