Millions of children are going hungry in America – 13 million to be exact. That means that one in six kids faces hunger every day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to close the hunger gap by providing meals and snacks to children enrolled in family day care homes, child care centers, homeless shelters and after-school programs, as well as in adult day care centers with older or functionally impaired adults. Today’s fraudster from Knoxville, Tennessee was part of a group of criminals who used this critical program to steal more than $2 million through a child care fraud scheme.
Today’s fraudster is the final defendant to be convicted and sentenced in a case that involved eight other co-defendants, one of which was her cousin. In 2014, the cousin opened a non-profit agency by the name of All About Giving, Inc. (While the name sounds nice, the mission of the organization was really all about taking.) The non-profit agency was registered as a sponsor agency in the CACFP, which is administered by the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS).
As a program sponsor organization, All About Giving was responsible for signing up child care providers to participate in the program. The non-profit handled communication regarding the total amount of reimbursement funds each provider was entitled to receive, plus disbursements from TDHS. For about a year and a half, today’s fraudster was one of the providers and purportedly operated a child care center out of her home. She also enrolled other child care providers to participate in the program. (It was all about submitting fake reimbursement claims to TDHS, claiming that the funds had been used to provide meals for eligible CACFP participants.)
Here’s how the scam unfolded. The fraudster’s cousin made bogus reimbursement requests to the TDHS, which caused the government organization to deposit more money into All About Giving’s bank account than it was entitled to receive. (Isn’t that always the way?) The two cousins and other co-conspirators falsified documents to support the fake reimbursement requests. (They overstated the number of meals served to children, sometimes listing fictitious names and provider lists with individuals who were not providing any child care or serving meals to children.) Today’s fraudster also traveled from Knoxville to Nashville on numerous occasions to pick up checks for All About Giving, then she distributed them to the alleged providers in the Knoxville area. (Her cut was about $54,000, while altogether the nine co-conspirators cost the CACFP more than $1.5 million.)
The child care provider from Tennessee pleaded guilty to child care fraud and was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. The judge also ordered $550,001 in restitution and forfeiture. The other eight co-defendants pleaded guilty to their part in the child care fraud scam, including her cousin who was sentenced to three months in prison and three years of supervised release.
Meals and snacks provided through CACFP served more than 4.3 million children and 130,632 adults in 2016 at a cost of $3.5 billion. Congratulations to the USDA for stopping this heinous robbery that stole food from the mouths of vulnerable beneficiaries.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on a Department of Justice press release entitled, “Final Defendant Sentenced to Prison in All About Giving Fraud,” released on October 4, 2018.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – October 4, 2018 – Tammy Young, 49, of Knoxville, Tennessee, was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court to 15 months in federal prison for her role in defrauding the government of more than $2 million, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee. Young is the final defendant to be sentenced in the conspiracy, which resulted in charges against eight other individuals. U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger also ordered $550,001 in forfeiture and restitution.
According to court documents, All About Giving, Inc. was formed by LaShane Hayes and incorporated as a non-profit agency in September 2014. The entity was registered as a sponsor agency in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP), which is administered by the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS). The CACFP was created to reimburse child care providers for meals served to low-income children and other qualifying individuals.