Minnesota lawmakers are pushing for answers on the state’s allegedly rampant childcare fraud, but officials within the Department of Human Services seem unwilling to provide any.
The story was first exposed in May by investigative reporters with Fox 9, who found that up to $100 million in suitcases left MSP bound for the Middle East. Experts suspect that some of the money is being transferred through Hawalas, the unofficial banking systems of some third-world countries, a share of which is generally demanded by Al-Shabab.
Fox 9 found that daycare centers across Minnesota would sign low-income families up for services and bill the state for a full day of care. But in many cases, the children would never show up. Video surveillance obtained by Fox 9 suggests that families in on the scam would even receive shares of the profit.
Scott Stillman, a former investigator who spent eight years with the state’s digital forensics lab, was directly involved with the state’s investigation of fraud in daycare centers. He later blew the whistle on Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS), and during a Tuesday hearing at the State Capitol said the case has “the potential to be Minnesota’s Watergate.”
“The door is locked, the business is closed, and nobody comes, and then you look at the billing records and they billed for 100 children,” he said, claiming that the money is financing terror organizations. “The evidence is staggering. It’s all there. But you haven’t been shown it.”
Stillman went on to make the shocking claim that some of the evidence indicates that “daycares under criminal investigation were providing monies to politicians, both Minnesota and federal.”
Rep. Matt Dean (R-Ely), chair of the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DHS in May, but has yet to receive the information requested.
“Child care fraud: DHS has my FOIA since May 15. DHS has internal report. DHS has an outside report. DHS has made changes. None of this shared with the legislature,” Dean wrote on Twitter Monday.
Child Care Fraud
DHS has my FOIA since May 15.
DHS has internal report
DHS has an outside report
DHS has made changes
None of this shared with legislature
— Matt Dean (@repmattdean) December 17, 2018
“Seven months after the Chair of the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Finance Committee asks for information, the government still has not delivered it (appears they have refused to cooperate),” Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) added.
7 months after the chair of the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Finance Committee asks for information, the government still has not delivered it (appears they have refused to cooperate)! #IneptAndCorruptGovernment https://t.co/6Z6aG2eyEh
— Steve Drazkowski (@SteveDraz) December 18, 2018
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Minnesota Capital” by McGhiever. CC BY-SA 4.0.