ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The owner of Mumtaaz Family Daycare Center in St. Paul is accused of overbilling the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program by more than $11,000. Said Jire Kalinle, 43, was charged Friday in Ramsey County with one count of theft by swindle and one count of identity theft.
“These criminal acts hurt our entire community -- those who are in need of assistance and those who pay for it -- our taxpayers,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.
Last February, the Fox 9 Investigators found most counties in the Twin Cities metro weren’t investigating daycare center fraud. But a special team within the Department of Human Services ramped up its inspections and enforcement more than a year ago.
Employee tips and surveillance
According to the criminal complaint, DHS investigators received multiple tips from former Mumtaaz Daycare employees that led to a surveillance operation from Feb. 26 to May 18, 2014. One employee told investigators that Kalinle maintained a “DHS room” at the center, fully-equipped with toys, books, and DHS-required learning supplies that were only used when licensing staff was on-site for an inspection.
After reviewing surveillance footage, logging witness interviews and inspecting records, the state’s investigation revealed the following highlights:
Between February 26, and May 18, 2014, Mumtaaz overbilled the CCAP by at least $11,400 for days when the center was not even open.
Mumtaaz also billed CCAP by an additional $5,280 for children who were not present on days that the center was open for business.
How Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program works
CCAP is managed on a county level, with oversight by DHS. The program provides working parents who meet certain income eligibility requirements with affordable child care. CCAP payments are paid directly to child care providers who are required to accurately report a child’s attendance.
FOX 9 INVESTIGATORS: Alleged day care fraud goes unpunished