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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


DECEMBER 4, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


JOPLIN DAYCARE OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO $113,000 FRAUD


SCHEME TARGETED FEDERAL PROGRAM

SERVING LOW-INCOME FAMILIES


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the owner of a Joplin, Mo., daycare center pleaded guilty in federal court today to stealing more than $113,000 from a federal program that serves low-income families.


            Tabitha Bailey, 36, of Joplin, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr this afternoon to a federal information that charges her with mail fraud.


            Bailey is the owner of Dinosaur Academy, a state-licensed daycare facility at 2108 S. Main Street, Joplin. Dinosaur Academy contracted with the state of Missouri to provide daycare services to low-income families under the Child Care Subsidy Program, a program primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services and administered by the state Department of Social Services.


            By pleading guilty today, Bailey admitted that she began submitting falsely inflated invoices to the state in February 2001, which billed for childcare services that were not actually provided. Bailey billed for children who were either not present for daycare when Dinosaur Academy claimed the children were present, or who were present for part of the day, but Dinosaur Academy billed as if they were present the full day. In support of the falsely inflated invoices, Bailey attached attendance sheets that had been altered and/or fabricated.


            Between February 2001 and March 2007, the state mailed more than 70 different checks to Dinosaur Academy in payment of the falsified invoices. In total, Bailey received $113,192 for services which she billed, but Dinosaur Academy did not actually provide.


            Under federal statutes, Bailey is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robyn L. McKee. It was investigated by the Missouri Department of Social Services, Division of Legal Services, Criminal Investigations Division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html