Nursery Crimes

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35104679 - classroom nursery with red chairs and small desks for children

Central to the tale of The Three Little Pigs is the big, bad wolf who blew down two out of three houses because the structures had not been built out of materials that could withstand the animal’s forceful blow. Today’s “Fraud of the Day” reveals a man from Brooklyn, New York, who illegally operated three Brooklyn child care centers. His attempted child care fraud scam came crumbling down when the government dealt a final and forceful blow to the previously convicted felon. (Yes, you read that right. This was not the big, bad fraudster’s first brush with law.)

The daycare center operator carried out his devious plan by collecting more than $50,000 in vouchers from the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), a government agency that provides welfare services to children and their families. (The vouchers help pay for childcare so parents can go to work.) The fraudster also tried to collect government-funded vouchers for a fourth location that did not actually exist. (Fortunately, this conman did not get away with his intended nursery crimes.)

The stolen government funds were designated for New York City’s most underprivileged citizens. Many were single moms on public assistance who entrusted this guy to watch their infants, toddlers and school-age children. Evidence presented in court showed that the childcare facilities were overcrowded and some infants were left in vermin-infested rooms covered in droppings and within reach of spoiled milk and open alcohol containers. (How would you feel if your child was cared for under those conditions? Pretty disgusting.) Additional research found that one of the daycare centers was only approved to hold seven toddlers even though it actually held 78. (Yes, that’s 71 more than legally allowed.) And when inspectors paid a visit, the center operator would routinely pile the children onto buses while the inspection took place.

It’s important to reveal a bit of background history on this guy. The daycare center operator had previously served three-and-a-half-years in jail for operating a $12 million mortgage fraud scam. (I’m wondering if there was a background check completed on this guy before he opened his childcare centers.)

The conman’s ruse was exposed when a city employee realized that the permit he had filed to open the fourth non-existent center had some incorrect information listed. Eliot Spitzer was listed as the current governor, even though he had resigned years before the permit had been filed. (That was a good catch.) It turns out that the daycare center operator carried out the scheme by bribing a former ACS employee to help him cover up the crime. The fraudster paid the worker from $100 to $300 each month to fax forms that allowed him to continuously receive vouchers for his fourth fictional center. (It’s hard to send important forms via mail to a non-existent address.)

The 44-year-old declared he was innocent after the judge sentenced him to 7 ½ to 15 years in prison for childcare fraud involving illegally-gained vouchers for dozens of school-aged children. (I’d say up to 15 years behind bars is a significant time out for the conman.) Fortunately, the government blew the doors off this big, bad fraudster’s scam and now there’s no use crying over spilt milk.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Conman gets max sentence for stealing $50K from day carespublished by New York Post on May 31, 2017.

A conman convicted of pocketing more than $50,000 in city funding meant for day care centers for underprivileged kids was blasted by a Brooklyn judge Wednesday after the scammer whined he was innocent and would “keep fighting” to clear his name.

“What I see is a conman, a manipulative man,” Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Guy Mangano told Owen Larman before handing the 44-year-old the maximum sentence of seven and a half to 15 years in prison for his scheme. “No contrition.”

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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.