Johnson C. Smith University probes student food service cards

Johnson C. Smith University is investigating fraudulent use of student meal cards that, according to one student, might keep some seniors from graduating on Sunday.

In a statement, the university said it has uncovered evidence of fraudulent transactions involving “flex dollars” loaded to meal cards, but did not detail what the fraud entailed. The cards are used to buy food on campus and the university says it suspects students as well as employees with Perkins Management Services are involved.

Perkins is the on-campus dining operator and is based in Charlotte. The company did not return calls from the Observer seeking comment.

University officials say they don’t yet know how many students participated. The suspected fraud was recently discovered.

A recent review by a Perkins employee found more than 300 potential fraudulent transactions, according to the university’s statement.

“The university’s director of judicial affairs is undertaking a careful, thorough investigation and has contacted every student whose card has a questionable transaction,” the statement said. “In the coming weeks, the director will meet with each student to gather relevant facts. Students found to have engaged in the fraud will face judicial review.”

An email from the administration to some students notified them they were under investigation for allegations they took part in a “criminal conspiracy by which you illegally received funds from (food service franchises) Red Mango and/or Burger King at JCSU, using your (flex dollars) identification account.”

The email warns of possible criminal prosecutions and disciplinary action, and says failure to comply with the investigation could affect registering for classes, transcripts and graduation.

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