3 Swindlers Bought Luxury Cars With Taxpayer Funds Meant to Buy Food for Kids

Whether you’re a car enthusiast or not, it’s a dream to be able to afford uber-expensive luxury cars. Brand names like Bentley, Rolls Royce, and Maserati are typically out of reach for most working Americans. But for three swindlers, those car brands were easily within reach thanks to using taxpayers’ money that was meant to feed underprivileged kids.

The three fraudsters set up a sham non-profit to buy cars and other fancy things

 The grill of a Bentley automobile.
The grille of a Bentley automobile. | Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

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According to the NY Post, a trio of fraudsters recently pleaded guilty to using money they receive for a non-profit organization on luxury cars and fine clothes. Charles Simpson, 44, Tanisha Jackson, 49, and her daughter, Paige Jackson, 30, all confessed to setting up a fake non-profit organization that was meant to obtain federal funds to feed underprivileged kids after school and through the summer.

Instead, the tax dollars of many Americans went toward buying nine luxury cars that included a Bentley, two Land Rovers, two Maseratis, two Mercedes-Benzs, a Hummer, and a Porsche, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania on Thursday. In addition to the luxury vehicles, Simpson and Tanisha Jackson allegedly withdrew over $10,000 from the account more than a dozen times to buy other fancy items.

This massive $4-milllon shopping spree spanned four years

A visitor walks past Maserati cars at the 2006 International Automotive Exhibition.
A visitor walks past Maserati cars at the 2006 International Automotive Exhibition. | China Photos/Getty Images

The fancy cars were just the start of the trio’s massive shopping spree. From 2015 to 2019, the three swindlers grabbed up to $4 million in total, according to the feds. Their Texas-based charity was called “Helping Others in Need” and it would receive federal funds from Pennsylvania’s Department of Education to feed kids in the state, the NY Post reported.

Simpson and Tanisha Jackson reportedly used fake aliases to submit reimbursement claims, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The nonprofit would either inflate the number of meals that it served to get more money or it requested funds on days that meals weren’t being served at all.

FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge, Mike Nordwall, stated, “It’s very disappointing when greed and selfishness take over and deprive our youth of much-needed funding to provide them with nutritious meals.” He went on to state, “To use a non-profit organization as a means to engage in fraud targeting U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded feeding programs is unacceptable. It’s also insulting to the teachers and educators working every day to make a better future for our children.”

The trio of fraudsters pleaded guilty and could face serious jail time

A view of an empty courtroom
A view of an empty courtroom. | Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times/ POOL

The NY Post reported that Simpson and Tanisha Jackson agreed to pay the federal government $1.5 million in restitution. Paige Jackson agreed to pay around $190,000. All three of them reportedly pleaded guilty to the charges of committing mail and wire fraud and could face up to 20 years of jail time each.

Simpson and Tanisha Jackson also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, which has a maximum charge of 10 years. While many Americans can only dream of going on a $4-million shopping spree, these three pulled it off for years. But as always, crime does not pay, even if you get to drive an uber-luxury car for a while.

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