Little Miracles daycare owners indicted in federal investigation

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They run non-for-profit daycares, but the feds say the owners of Little Miracles were making plenty of money by ripping off the government.

Donald and LaFawn Crumpton have been indicted on 27 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and falsifying records. The couple is accused of defrauding the Child Care Development Fund Voucher Program (CCDF) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) out of $9 million between January 2007 and June 2010.

Prosecutors say the Crumptons manipulated the system by lying about the amount of food children ate and the number of hours children attended Little Miracles day cares across the Indianapolis area. They also say the Crumptons instructed an employee to destroy potential evidence once they learned of the federal investigation. The Crumptons are also accused of forging receipts in response to a subpoena.

According to the indictment, beginning in 2006 the Crumptons told their regional directors and daycare center operators to illegally collect confidential information from parents at their facilities. They are then alleged to have used this information to falsify their weekly reports to FSSA, fraudulently reporting more services than were actually provided.

Beginning in January 2007, the indictment alleges that the Crumptons told employees to report to the DOE that every child was eating every meal and snack they could have possibly been provided. This was allegedly done no matter whether the child was actually in attendance on that day or if the child had actually been provided the food.

Both defendants face decades in federal prison and significant fines if they are found guilty of the charges. An initial hearing was held Wednesday morning in Indianapolis, and a detention hearing will be scheduled in the next 48 hours.

Statement from FSSA:

"The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) was involved in the investigation of Little Miracles Day Care from the very beginning. In fact, our investigative efforts initially discovered the alleged fraud. FSSA then informed federal authorities and continues to work with them.

FSSA suspended Little Miracles from the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) program for policy violations on January 13, 2012. FSSA's Bureau of Child Care (BCC) then worked closely with the Indiana Association of Child Care Resource and Referral (IACCRR) and the Children's Bureau to locate new child care providers and provide a seamless transition for the families of children who were being cared for by Little Miracles.

FSSA will continue to aggressively investigate and pursue instances of fraud - whether it involves providers, recipients or employees."

Note from the prosecutor: an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.