Child Care Center Owner Sentenced For Fraud
PHILADELPHIA –Tianna Edwards, 32, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. U.S. District Court Judge Juan R. Sanchez also ordered restitution in the amount of $1,459,470.25, three years of supervised release and a $500 special assessment.
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.
In addition to business expenses, bank records showed that from September 2008 to September 2012, Edwards spent over $135,000 in personal retail, travel and entertainment. Moreover, casino records showed that from January, 2011 through January, 2013, Tianna Edwards spent over 490 hours at Sugarhouse casino, gambling over $1.5 million with a net loss of over $206,000.
The case was investigated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General 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