Child Care Fraud is Not Child’s Play

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It’s hard to be told ”no” – the word often puts a spark of motivation into someone to push even harder. A Wisconsin woman took that spark of motivation a bit too seriously and is now about to go to prison for fraud.

According to a recent JSOnline.com story, a woman who was denied a license to run a day care based on her status as a convicted felon (this is already a good story), took matters into her own hands and obtained licenses to run two child care facilities in the name of her son and daughter. Between 2008 and 2010, the woman and her day care staff continuously billed the state for the attendance of children who were not present at either day care center. (Maybe they were just all absent?)

But according to the complaint, the fraud didn’t stop there. The woman has been accused of owning a cleaning service. She allegedly used the cleaning service to provide false employment records to people trying to enter Wisconsin Works – a program that provides employment preparation services, case management and cash assistance to eligible families – so they could qualify for childcare at her centers.

While in court, her attorney provided background on her situation explaining that she attended Marquette University for two years, worked in both the mortgage industry and child care industry, and was studying to become a medical assistant. (So does this mean that it’s ok to just give her a slap on the wrist even though she stole $134k? Back to the Big House for her!? When the day care owner was asked by the judge why she fraudulently reported the fake attendance of various children, she claimed it was not a selfish act; instead, she said it was done with the best interests of her staff in mind because she wanted to continue paying them. (”Just looking out for my employees.”? She wanted to make it clear that her actions were not based on greed. (Of course not, that’s what you’d expect from a good fraudster and felon!? The court disagreed and revoked her license, informing her that the sole creation of the centers in the first place was illegal based on her criminal status. (Tell her again! Can you spell CRIMINAL??

Wisconsin has come a long way since 2009 when lawmakers initiated a state-wide reform to help correct widespread fraud within the $350 million state program that subsidizes day care for the poor. Since this time, the article notes that ”more than two dozen people have been charged in state and federal court in cases alleging nearly $2 million in fraud.’? In this case, the woman was sentenced to 18 months in prison (including some time served) and four and a half years of supervised release. Plus, she has 10 years to pay back the $134,000. The court sent a clear message here? there are consequences to defrauding taxpayers in Wisconsin, and it’s not child’s play. (Yeah baby!)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Day Care Fraud Nets Falls Woman 18 Months in Prison” written by Bruce Vielmetti, published by the JSOnline.com, January 18, 2012.

As a felon, Ferlisha Ivy couldn’t get a license to run a day care, so she got one in the name of her son, and another in the name of her daughter.

But it was Ivy, prosecutors say, who ran both Dream Angels and Ne Ne’s, and who got others involved in helping her steal $134,000 from the Wisconsin Shares program by billing the state for children who didn’t attend the centers from 2008 to 2010.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.