February 26, 2013
Founders of Angel Food Ministries Plead Guilty To Skimming Millions for Personal Gain
Three family members' misuse of funds led to closure of $140-million food ministry.
The founders of Georgia-based Angel Food Ministries (AFM), a former $140-million distributor of discounted food via church networks, pleaded guilty to federal charges of fraud and money laundering today—five years after the FBI's investigation into the Wingo family's misuse of ministry funds originally began.
The FBI investigation, which began in 2007, led to a 49-count indictment against Joe and Linda Wingo and their son Andy in 2011, and eventually forced the shutdown of AFM. Now, the Walton Tribune reports that the Wingos "will be sentenced May 29 in Macon for committing crimes that destroyed the once-proud Monroe-based company designed to help the needy through the sale of low-cost food boxes."
The indictment charged the Wingos with using AFM funds for personal gain, collecting kickbacks from vendors, and selling excess inventory for personal profit.
Joe and Andy Windo pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and both remain in custody. Linda Wingo, who only pleaded guilty to concealment of a felony, has been released.
In addition, the Wingos' partner Harry Michaels pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
CT previously reported on the Wingos in 2009, when they were first raided by federal investigators, and noted how the lawsuits they faced were a warning about family-run mega-ministries. (One lawsuit was later settled.)