If you ask people what kinds of criminal charges a daycare provider or other childcare professional might face, most people would think of them failing in their duties. Certainly, some childcare workers end up accused of neglect or child abuse and may face criminal charges as a result.
However, daycare workers and other paid childcare professionals might also end up accused of fraud. In fact, childcare fraud is such a serious issue that it has started to influence how lawmakers handle certain social programs.
Why would childcare providers end up accused of fraud?
Misrepresenting a child’s care schedule could be fraud
The state of Minnesota does provide parents in certain circumstances with childcare benefits. Parents with children who are not yet old enough to attend school may qualify for childcare support that allows them to work despite having young children.
Typically, parents will have a contract or agreement with a specific childcare provider, who can then bill the state as compensation for their services. There are many ways in which a provider’s billing practices might lead to fraud allegations.
For example, it is common practice in the childcare industry to require a specific amount of advance notice if the child will not be attending or else the family will have to cover those costs anyway. You may be able to enforce that policy against those who pay cash, but it may constitute fraud if you attempt to bill for services that you did not actually provide.
Similarly, if you misrepresent the number of children or the number of hours of care that you’ve provided when submitting a claim to the state for reimbursement, those exaggerations might eventually come back to haunt you.
Those accused of fraud related to childcare services and state aid could end up ordered to repay the revenue they generated and might also be at risk of incarceration and other criminal penalties. Fraud allegations could also affect your future. Someone previously convicted of a fraud-related offense may have a harder time becoming eligible to accept certain benefits later.
Beyond that, the case against you could also harm your reputation with the local community. Making sense of the state’s laws and fighting back when you stand accused of a white-collar crime like fraudulent billing practices can help you protect your income, your reputation and your freedom.