Documents released in case of day care van crash
Luisville, Ky, July 27, 2012 - A systematic manipulation of a day care center to steal hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars was the picture painted by new court documents released in the case of a former day care owner accused of fraud and theft.
Lavonia Lewars, 42, the former owner of Heavenly Angels Child Care, was indicted last week.
On Friday, WLKY News obtained a copy of the investigation, which accuses her of overbilling the state so she would get paid for children that never attended her day cares.
Last week, Lewars was indicted on criminal charges, accused of stealing more than $300,000 from a child care subsidy program.
Court documents released on Friday accused Lewars of billing the state for more children that actually attended her day cares, and interviews with several parents and employees reveal a pattern of deception.
One such statement reads, "For approximately three months, children were being billed for attending Crums Lane before it was actually running. The parents cannot sign their child in/out because 'half the time their kids are not even there.'"
According to the documents, one former employee "explained she was paid $200 in cash on two separate occasions so Ms. Lewars could bill 4C for attending the day care, although two of her children never actually attended."
Investigators also said Lewars employed about 70 Somali women and that "Ms. Lewars bills for all of the Somali women's kids, but all of the kids do not go to the day care. The Somali women are willing to go along with whatever Ms. Lewars says to get a paycheck."
The documents also said, "Ms. Lewars' attorney had given the Somali women a survey on what to say if someone from the Inspector General's Office started asking them questions."
That started happening in January, when the state began its investigation into Lewars, long before the deadly van crash.
Now the state wants all that money back.
Attempts to contact Lewars over the past several weeks have been unsuccessful. She is scheduled to be arraigned on fraud and theft charges Monday.
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