Buffalo daycare owner pleads guilty to theft of government funds

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The owner of a Buffalo daycare has pleaded guilty to theft of government funds after she was charged with submitting hundreds of fraudulent claims to Erie County seeking reimbursement for daycare services.

Halima Mohamed, 35, of Buffalo, faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced Nov. 1.

According to the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case, Mohamed and her husband, Tariq Butt, opened Twinkle Stars Day Care in Buffalo in Feb. 2015. Between Jan. 2016 and Sept. 2016, Mohamed submitted fraudulent claims to the county seeking reimbursement for daycare services for children eligible for Child Care and Development Block Grant Funds from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Mohamed knew that the children listed on the claims did not actually attend Twinkle Stars on the dates and times claimed, making the daycare ineligible for reimbursement.

Between Jan. 2016 and Sept. 2016, Erie County paid Twinkle Stars approximately $130,188 for daycare services which were never rendered.

 

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