Sunday, January 25, 2009

Racine Scam-child-care Industry Exposed

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a very lenghty investigative article on child-care scams in Wisconsin. I would recommend reading the article, but in case you don't have a spare half hour, I will provide some of the lowlights and my observations.

The scam goes something like this: A woman with multiple children teams up with someone claiming to be a child care provider and someone claiming to be an employer. Even the most ridiculous employment claims are unquestionably accepted. So the state pays the child care provider money to take care of the children, and, presumably, the mother and the fake child care providers share in the take.

Now on to a few particular cases from Racine. One scammer, convicted cocaine dealer Katia Wright used her seven children to scam the state out of $85,000. She teamed up with a Kenosha man who claimed to employ her, though the Wisconsin Department of Revenue has no record of taxes filed for the business. Also, the fictitious business carried no worker's compensation insurance, and this should have disqualified him as an eligible employer.

And then there is Talisha Burkhart, a check forging mother of six, also from Racine. Her scam is much like Wright's, so I will spare you those details. But here is what she had to say when confronted by the Sentinel reporter: "I work. I work. It's 50,000 child-care providers around here... My auntie's a child-care provider, my uncle's a child-care provider, cousins are child-care providers, everybody's a child-care provider around me, but this is the only person that I know ya'll have talked to."

Even if everything is above board, as in real children, a real employer, and real day care providers, does it really make sense to pay someone $85,000 so that a mother of seven can earn less than $20,000 at a minimum wage job? It would be far less ridiculous to just pay the woman minimum wage to take care of her own children.


Anonymous said...

It would be far less ridiculous to just pay the woman minimum wage to take care of her own children. Not that I'd really for that, either, but there's a no-brainer if I ever heard one!


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Anonymous said...

Does Two cases really constitute an industry? Don't get me wrong, all parties involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There should also be a registry of people who, after being convicted of welfare fraud, are ineligible for future state aid. I fail to see how hyperbole helps in any way.