In September 2015, Ummah Child Care Center, Inc. was charged in Hennepin County with theft by swindle, a felony, for improper billing resulting in fraudulently obtaining state program funding. Ummah pleaded guilty on Jan. 3, 2017.
As a result of the conviction, the center was ordered to pay $37,000 in restitution and a $10,000 fine. In addition, on Sept. 28, 2015, the date the criminal complaint was filed, the center had its assets frozen. Once the restitution and fines are paid to the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Hennepin County District Court, respectively, the freeze on Ummah Child Care Center’s bank account will be lifted.
The center, which became a licensed child care facility in August 2013, is one of the largest recipients of Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) funds in the state. Based on the high level of billing by this center, along with additional information, an investigation of the child care center took place over 31 days between April 24 and June 21, 2015. The investigation involved counting the number of children who entered the child care center over this time period.
During a single week in April, Ummah billed for 551 children even though investigators observed 459 children attending the center. That means the center billed for 92 children who did not actually attend the center that week.
When calculating the degree of fraud, DHS investigators used the lowest billing rate (the amount charged for a school age child) even though many of the children seen entering the center were likely younger and therefore billed at a higher rate. During this one particular week of the investigation, Ummah fraudulently received $4,944. Overall, during the surveillance period Ummah submitted bills and obtained CCAP funds for 2,253 children attending the center when actually only 1,896 children were present during that time.
In addition to being charged with theft by swindle, and paying restitution and a court fine, the authorized biller for Ummah Child Care Center, Hamdi Ahmed Nur, agreed to be disqualified from working for, owning or being involved in a child care center or child care provider that is required to be licensed by DHS or any county, or receive funding from CCAP. The disqualification will last two years after which time Ahmed Nur will be subject to a background study as is required of all licensed child care providers.