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.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Rich Lamb
  • Tara Goodman

    So many surporting comment but Im sure if she was black everyone would want her to go to jail pay a fine and lost her license just because she is black so why not the same a crime is a crime no matter what color you are. And I sure the parents she was working with were not black but someone from her country

  • Bell Toller

    Do these tapes violate the privacy act?

  • mm

    3 MILLION ON FOODSTAMPS in NYC! Google it!


    What about the foodstamp business. Seems this should be high priority too.

  • morris

    Officials are so willingly stupid. This has been going on for years. Want to investigate something else? How about the enrollment into the state health insurance program? As it was said to me, “Don’t worry about getting caught. Nobody wants to look into it because nobody wants to look like their hurting kids.” And we just keep funding the leeches. I don’t know why anybody plays by the rules anymore. The rule abiders end up paying for those that know how to use the system. It’s very depressing..

  • sally rogers

    wherever there is a russian, there’s a scheme.

  • rafaelle z

    It’s not only daycare they should start investigating the so called home attendant . I know there are few of them operating that way. The suppose seniors citizens (russian origin) splitting the checks with home attendant that never have to show up.Queens Rego Park for example.

  • hmm

    Right… and what about those so called “family daycare” centers in the Bronx that live off of 100% phantom kids and share the profit with their welfare parents? How can anyone explain up to ten day care programs in any project building?

    • Omar

      You mean the ones you’ve visited personally? Maybe you should become a CI and turn them in too. Assuming you get out of the projects alive that is.

  • DG

    The tip of the iceberg. Keep investigating!

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