Eleven Former NETO Employees Indicted
Eleven former Northeast Texas Opportunities, Inc. (NETO) employees were indicted in federal court on March 1. As a non-profit organization NETO is a program that assists the low-income and elderly with nutrition and transportation services including the operation of the Headstart program.
This came following a lengthy investigation by both the local law enforcement, Texas Rangers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office these activities, which accuses them of a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Government and theft of government property or money, caused $1.2 million in losses to the NETO program.
According to The Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune, defendants included: Cynthia Hillard Campbell, 54, of Mount Pleasant; Beverly Thomas Logan, 64, of Mount Vernon; Lana Bowie Dethrow, 58, of Honey Grove; Marco Antonio Alcaraze-Guerrero, 40, of Greenville; Paula Wallis Trantham, 50, of Winnsboro; Christy Lynn Shelby, 41, of Mount Vernon; Brenda McGill Fountain, 60, of Mount Vernon; Darlene Hargrave Hatcher, 61, of Mount Vernon; Karinda Anne Breaux, 52, of Mount Vernon; Pamela Powe Gossett, 61, of Pittsburg; and Maria Delaluz Telles, 35, of Mount Vernon. They each face up to 10 years in federal prison, fines up to $250,000 or both and supervised release of not more than three years.
Former NETO Executive Director Beverly Logan allegedly received funds she used to pay personal credit card bills and a debt collection attorney. The list of fraudulent payments received by the 11 indicted is detailed in the report.
The statement reports all 11 were released on $10,000 bond with conditions after appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven in federal court in Texarkana.
As previously reported Delta, Franklin and Hopkins Counties have all severed ties with the organization. On Aug. 31, 2015 the Board of Directors dissolved NETO. Ark-Tex Council of Government took steps last June to take over the transportation aspect of NETO. Franklin County Judge Scott Lee was in agreement with Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom in the actions taken were to protect their prospective citizens. Lamar County Human Resources Council has stepped up to take on the needs required to fulfill those of this region. Meal-A-Day drivers report the administration of the new program is better including hot meals and timely salary pay. Both recipients and staff are pleased with the change.