alphablocks.jpgAfter an audit of funds meant for childcare programs for low-income parents, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli referred multiple daycare centers to district attorney offices in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx for possible prosecution. The audit determined that between 1999 and 2007, more state money was spent fraudulently than legally by recipients.

The fraud consisted of such things as overbilling the state for non-existent childcare slots, billing for a fire protection system that was never installed, and charging for computers purchased that were quickly flipped back to the seller for a refund. The millions in funds allocated to aid low-income families was spent on items like plane tickets, cell phone and credit card bills, or funneled directly into a personal checking account.

The audit concluded that oversight of how funds are distributed and spent needs to be expanded. The head of the Office of Children and Family Services, Gladys Carrión, agreed with the report's suggestions and pointed out a number of steps that have been taken to cut down on fraud since she took charge of the agency at the start of last year.