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Former Assistant District Attorney
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Government program fraud leads to heavy penalties

| Feb 18, 2021 | Federal Crimes

An indictment on federal charges often follows a lengthy investigation into suspected illegal activity. Once a grand jury returns an indictment, the accused has several choices, such as whether to go to trial or negotiate a plea deal. No matter the decision, the potential remains for serious penalties. Mississippi federal agents may be especially zealous about prosecuting someone whom they suspect of government programs fraud.

One woman in another state is facing just such charges. Authorities say the 56-year-old ran a daycare facility for which she accepted funding from two federal programs. One program subsidized the daycare for accepting children from low-income families, and the other gave monetary incentives for quality service. A recent indictment charged the woman with theft from those programs as well as tax evasion.

The accusations

Authorities believe the woman was able to acquire additional funding when she inflated her records to show she cared for more low-income children than were actually enrolled. Additionally, the indictment accuses the woman of underreporting the daycare’s income and failing to include the federal subsidies on her tax returns for three consecutive years. She now faces three counts of tax evasion as well as charges of wire fraud and theft of government money.

The penalties for conviction on all counts may reach 45 years in prison and over $1 million in fines. Because the federal programs involve the welfare of children, authorities in her state are zealous to prosecute such offenses to the full extent of the law. For those facing similar circumstances, building an aggressive defense strategy is critical for the most positive outcome possible.