Children are beacons of light and hope for the world. Most parents want their children to have a bright future and will go to great efforts to provide the best educational opportunities available. However, not everyone can afford to send their children to the most elite learning academy. Sometimes, hard-working parents have to rely on government assistance to provide a safe and effective learning environment for their children. Unfortunately, there are people who take advantage of government benefits to make a profit. The Southtown Star profiles a Frankfort woman, who continued to bill the government for daycare services even after the child care center she operated had lost its lease.

The story reports that the former director operated the Starbright Learning Academy in Markham, which provided child care for low-income families. Even though the center lost its lease in November 2009, the woman continued to bill the Illinois Department of Human Services for another five months as if the day care business was still open. (And, she didn’t think she was going to get caught?) By doing so, she defrauded the state of more than $71,000 for services she never provided.

The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to the theft of government money and 10 counts of wire fraud. She was sentenced to 36 months of probation and ordered to pay $71,243 in restitution.

This fraudster’s criminal acts were selfish. She essentially dimmed the lights for future rising stars, who truly deserve a better life. One thing is for sure: this woman does not have such a bright future either, unless she can make amends for her criminal actions and learn from the school of hard knocks.

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