Springfield, Illinois– On 13th October 2020, a grand jury brought back allegations that indicted 4 women, from Chicago, for allegedly swindling a state child care subsidy scheme aimed at offering reasonable child care to qualified parents. Every woman possessed and ran authorized daycare in a Chicago that purportedly presented a false claim for remittance for child care services, which were not offered to the extent alleged. Consequently, the approximated loss to the state was over one million USD as a consequence of the purported scheme.
Department of Human Services of the state of Illinois issues the Child Care Assistance Program with state finances and allowances offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The scheme offers health care services to low-paid parents changing from welfare or education programs to economic and works self-reliance. Parents are obliged to make co-remittance based on their capability to remit, and the Child Care Assistance Program remits the rest.
Those indicted were Tarnavs A. “Bonnie” Lee, age 41, proprietor and manager of Lee’s Toddler Town, Inc.; Demetra M. Jackson, age 41, proprietor and manager of Jitter Bugs Inc.; Elizabeth McFarland, age 46, currently residing in Madison, Tenn., who possessed and ran Tater Tots, Inc.; and LaShanda Hudson, age 39, who possessed and ran a daycare enterprise in the name.
Bonnie was charged in 2 accusations, one with Demetra and one with Elizabeth, for running identical fraud schemes. Bonnie, who was the owner of Lee’s Toddler Town nursery, took part in the subsidy scheme as an authorized child caregiver and presented claims for the services. The accusations against Bonnie and Demetra claims that from March 2016 to April 2019, the two ladies collected child care block grants funds by presenting false data concerning applicants’ qualifications and the kind of health care and services really offered. Bonnie purportedly presented application forms, for the parents’ benefit, that had falsified information about their employment and revenue, the number of names of children, the duration the child would spend at Jackson’s Jitter Bugs daycare, and the area where the services were rendered. Remittance to Jitter Bugs was placed in an account that the two ladies managed. When payments were collected, over one-half of the money was wired to accounts, which only Bonnie had control over. Besides, Bonnie continuously paid kickbacks to parents who were claimed to be clients of Jitter Bugs. The two proceeded to present falsified claims for remittance even after Demetra had relocated from her home, the authorized daycare location. Consequently, Bonnie and Demetra purportedly presented nearly 312,000 USD in a claim with a shortage to the state of over 140,000 USD.
Further, Bonnie was charged in a second accusation with Elizabeth, who possessed and ran Tater Tots Inc., in Chicago, for purportedly running an identical fraud scheme from June 2009 to April 2019. Falsified applications and allegations for remittance were purportedly presented for child care and services using the Child Care Assistance Program, and upon remittance, over one-half of the money paid was wired to Bonnie. Bonnie and Elizabeth presented nearly 1.5 million USD claims, with an approximate loss to the state of over 800,000 USD.
The 3rd accusation charges Purportedly LaShanda with running an identical fraud scheme to benefit her private daycare enterprise in Chicago from January 2009 to November 2019. LaShanda purportedly submitted false information and records concerning the applicant’s validity as well as data about the kind of care and services and the magnitude of the services actually rendered. LaShanda also purportedly made kickback remittance to parents who were alleged clients. As a consequence of the purported scheme, LaShanda presented claims amounting to nearly 734,000, causing an approximated loss of over 400,000 USD.
Specifically, the accusations against Bonnie and Demetra charged every lady with seventeen counts of mail and wire fraud; Bonnie was also charged with 8 counts of money laundering. Bonnie and Elizabeth’s conviction charged Bonnie with thirty-five counts of mail and wire fraud and 7 counts of money laundering; Elizabeth was charged with Bonnie with twelve counts of mail and wire fraud. LaShanda was charged with twelve counts of wire and 9 counts of money laundering.
Each lady was given a citing to appear for indictment in the Springfield federal court. If sentenced, the maximum set penalty for every count of the crimes of wire fraud, money laundering, and mail fraud is almost twenty years in federal prison.
The federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigations for this case, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Central Division; and the Illinois Police Department. They were assisted by the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services, which regulates the Child Care Assistance Program for Illinois State. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass carried out the prosecutions on behalf of the government.
The public members are reminded that a charge is only an allegation; each defendant is assumed to be innocent unless proven guilty in court.
Persons who scheme to commit Health Care Fraud are criminals who break the law. If proven guilty of the offenses, they are severely penalized. Swindling Health Care programs is a serious crime that is harshly penalized under the law. You must seek legal advice or legal representation when indicted for Health Care Fraud or the offenses mentioned above to pursue and protect your rights. The Healthcare Fraud Group proficient team of highly knowledgeable attorneys comprises the best criminal defense attorneys with exceptional experience and provides the best possible service to attain positive results. Our highly conversant team understands the need to prove innocence after accusations of any crime mentioned above. Phone us now at 888-402-4054 for any legal help or representation you may need.