No, that headline isn’t created for any sort of shock value. It’s the simple truth. If you steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the State of Wisconsin through a (welfare) child care program, all they’ll do is ask you politely (three times) to give the money back. If you don’t, they’ll leave you alone forever.
Sounds like a good business opportunity, doesn’t it?
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has shined a light on this completely mismanaged welfare program which flushes millions of dollars of taxpayer money down the toilet each year. The story a couple of weeks ago was about how the state doesn’t really verify the work claimed by ther welfare recipients, nor the attendance at daycare of their children. This leads to the state paying for a whole lot of childcare that isn’t needed or is not provided.
This week’s story is about how easy it is to steal from the state through the child care welfare program and never have to pay the money back. The newspaper reports:
The state has overpaid day care providers at least $13.7 million in recent years – including millions of dollars spent on bogus child care that was never delivered, according to the state’s own records.
When regulators have tried to collect the misspent taxpayer-funded money, parents and providers have stiffed the state to the tune of $6.4 million, the Journal Sentinel has found.
The state has no system to collect from providers that go out of business.
This is the best part:
The state sends three notices reminding providers of their debt. If the providers fail to respond, the collection process typically ends, officials said.
Tender Moments Child Care center on W. Capitol Drive got three notices – and ignored them all. State officials say the center owes $850,000 that it received in overpayments.
So three nice letters asking you to return the money, and if you ignore them, they leave you alone. Anyone want to start a daycare center with me? Something tells me we could make a whole lot of money.