A state lawmaker wants to use technology to help stamp out fraud in the Wisconsin Shares program.

Over $22 million in fraudulent or improper payments were made to child care centers in 2008 under the current Wisconsin Shares program, which checks attendance based on paper reports. State Representative Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) says it’s time for a high tech change that would almost completely prevent providers from cheating the system.

Honadel is sponsoring legislation requiring any day care center receiving state money to check in children using electronic fingerprint scanners. He says the devices would be nearly impossible to deceive because the require a live person to place their finger on them. The data on attendance records would then be sent directly to the state.

The proposal would require providers to purchase the equipment on their own, which Honadel estimates could cost up to $500. He says it’s a small price for to pay when some providers are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money each year.

The South Milwaukee Republican says the devices are a much better solution than an alternative proposal to use a swipe card system at child care centers. He says that solution still leaves the possibility of fraud wide open, since providers could just hold on to the cards and swipe them when a child isn’t actually present.

The bill requires the system to be in place by January of next year.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:03)


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