The local Fox affiliate in the Twin Cities has a huge story:
Minnesota lawmakers are scheduling a hearing for Tuesday after the Fox 9 Investigators exposed daycare fraud that could be costing taxpayers millions of dollars and some of that money could be making its way to terrorists overseas.I would not be surprised if the $100 million figure is conservative. We give away a lot of money for childcare expenses. How does it work? From the original story at Fox 9:
Carry-on suitcases filled with as much as a million dollars in cash are regularly leaving on flights from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to the Middle East. Last year alone, government agents determined the money transfers amounted to over a $100 million. They believe a sizeable amount is coming from fraud in the state's childcare assistance program, which offers government subsidies to low-income families.
At least 10 daycare centers are currently under active investigation for overbilling the state. Most of those centers are owned by Somali immigrants. Members of the community told Fox 9 that the fraud is widespread. It's believed some of the funds are being sent in the form of remittance payments to relatives in their homeland. Investigators also believe terrorist groups are demanding a cut of the money when it arrives overseas.
Five years ago the Fox 9 Investigators were first to report that daycare fraud was on the rise in Minnesota, exposing how some businesses were gaming the system to steal millions in government subsidies meant to help low-income families with their childcare expenses.It sure does. Somalia is an awful place and I can't hardly blame people for wanting to leave there. At the same time, if people want to come here, it's reasonable to expect them not to participate in welfare fraud.
“It’s a great way to make some money,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
In order for the scheme to work, the daycare centers need to sign up low income families that qualify for child care assistance funding.
Surveillance videos from a case prosecuted by Hennepin County show parents checking their kids into a center, only to leave with them a few minutes later. Sometimes, no children would show up.
Either way, the center would bill the state for a full day of childcare.
Video from that same case shows a man handing out envelopes of what are believed to be kickback payments to parents who are in on the fraud.
When asked where the money was going, Freeman said, “I don’t know exactly where it went. But it adds up when you begin to look at how many people were involved."