child care center owner pleads guilty to fraud
PHILADELPHIA –Tianna Edwards, 32, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.
In 2008, Edwards had a criminal record which would have prohibited her from obtaining a license to operate a child day care facility and receive state and federal child subsidy payments from the Department of Public Welfare (“DPW”). In order to circumvent the criminal history clearance requirements for a license and to become eligible for state and federal child care subsidy funds, in September 2008, defendant Tianna Edwards submitted the first of two separate applications to DPW containing the forged signatures of another individual, for licenses to operate facilities named “Tianna’s Terrific Tots.” Both applications were false because they listed a person who did not have a criminal record as the sole legal owner and operator of “Tianna’s Terrific Tots” when, in fact, defendant Tianna Edwards controlled and operated “Tianna’s Terrific Tots.” The facilities were located on Germantown Avenue and Rising Sun Avenue in Philadelphia. From December, 2008 through July 2012, Tianna Edwards received from DPW approximately $1,459,470.25 in fraudulent payments to Tianna’s Terrific Tots and spent the money on lifestyle expenses and gambling, as well as business expenses.
U.S. District Court Judge Juan R. Sanchez scheduled a sentencing hearing for October 10, 2014. Edwards faces a maximum possible sentence of 100 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $1.25 million, and a $500 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joan E. Burnes.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICTof PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525