The duo is accused of defrauding the Wisconsin Shares child care program out of more than $340,000, by submitting false attendance reports. Department of Children and Families Secretary Reggie Bicha says the new criminal charges reflect his office’s commitment to stopping fraud in the taxpayer-funded system. “We have a multi-prong approach to fighting fraud in Wisconsin Shares.”
Shawn Nash of Franklin and Maria Woodruff of Milwaukee are charged with two counts of felony fraud. If convicted, each faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. Wisconsin. Just this week Bicha announced the hiring of 31 new fraud investigators. The goal is to go beyond finding fraud, he says, it’s also about improving the safety and quality of child care. Bicha says the fraud hotline (1-877-302-3728 1-877-302-FRAUD) is proven to be very helpful, citing one example from an employee working in a child care center.
Charges were filed and the provider was shut down. Bicha says they’ve already saved $115-million, and that’s just the beginning. In January, his department will be rolling out an automated attendance and tracking system. The stealing was first discovered by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel almost two years ago. Later, a state audit found providers were illegally getting around $20-million a year from Wisconsin Shares. Bicha says it’s a priority to make sure “those ripping off Wisconsin Shares are held criminally accountable.”