Brooklyn Daycare Owner Charged With Using Phantom Kids To Steal State Funds
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn daycare owner is accused of pocketing thousands of dollars that fraudulently funded her two daycare centers.
WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb: An Honest Mom Turned On The Suspect
Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes says Liliana Godzhinsky was using phantom children to steal $25,000.
The 63-year-old ran the Luna Park and Small Wonder daycare centers in Brooklyn and allegedly listed the names of children not enrolled to fraudulently beef up payments from the city.
“ACS child care funds are meant to help working parents in need,” Hynes said. “They are not meant to subsidize the lifestyle of greedy peple looking to make a quick buck.”
“This may be the beginning of a much bigger inquiry,” Hynes told CBS 2′s John Slattery
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: This Is Just The Tip Of The Iceberg
Hynes said an honest mom became a confidential informant (CI) and turned the tables on Godzhinsky. He said the informant recorded conversations from more than a dozen meetings with Godzhinsky, like the following:
“Okay, yeah, cause I can use the money. I’m like ‘oh my God,’ $500 to $600 a month between rent and everything,” Godzhinsky is alleged to have said.
“The defendant told CI mom what to do, what papers to fill out, and how the payment would be made and what would be her cut of the theft,” said Hynes.
“She signed her children up at Luna Park Day Care center and at the time, Godzhinsky knew the children were living in Florida and never present at the center.”
The undercover mom then entered into a deal that would benefit them both.
“Yeah, yeah, that’s good,” the mom says on tape. “So we have a long, long relationship. Thank you.”
Hynes said there are 1,000 daycare centers in the city, handling 100,000 children and there could be widespread fraud across the industry. The DA said it’s clear that other parents participated in the scam. He warned that they will be pursued and advised them to get a lawyer and surrender.
“I don’t want to speculate how far widespread it is but I suspect it’s a serious problem,” Hynes said.
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