FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2009
Former Owner of Ferriday Child Care Center Sentenced for Fraud in Federal Court
- A former child care center owner was sentenced today to 37 months in prison followed by three years of supervised probation for committing mail fraud after defrauding the Department of Social Services (DSS) Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
Pamela Gorden, the former owner and operator of Gorden's Daycare and Learning Center in Ferriday, was also ordered by United States District Judge Dee D. Drell to pay full restitution of $220,697 to DSS. Gorden will report to a designated federal prison in December.
Gorden, age 50, operated Gorden's Daycare and Learning Center from January 2002 through October 2008 and received more than $1.2 million in CCAP funds. An investigation conducted by the Child Care Provider Fraud Task Force made up of the DSS Fraud & Recovery Section and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) revealed that from January 2003 through July 2007, Gorden defrauded DSS by submitting falsified invoices to CCAP, billing for children who did not attend the daycare and over-billing for those who didn't attend as frequently as claimed.
Gorden was indicted in October 2008 on 11 counts of mail fraud and nine counts of making false claims. Gorden entered a guilty plea to one count of mail fraud before U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell in Alexandria on June 30, 2009. During the plea hearing, a Special Agent with HHS-OIG testified that Gorden submitted falsified invoices to the State of Louisiana, CCAP, billing for children who did not attend the daycare and over-billing for those who didn't attend as frequently as claimed.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Bushnell for U.S. Attorney Donald Washington's office.
"Fraudulent activity will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols. "False claims for payments reduce the funds we have available to provide assistance to families and children in Louisiana who need our services."
Licensed Class A day care centers, which provide care to seven or more unrelated children, are regulated and monitored by DSS' Bureau of Licensing. According to the "Class A Center Provider Agreement," which licensed centers must sign, providers must keep a daily attendance record for each child participating in CCAP including arrival and departure times. Providers must notify DSS immediately when any CCAP participating child is removed from the center's care and report absences of five consecutive days so that payment can be discontinued.
To receive CCAP payments, providers must submit monthly invoices to DSS indicating the number of days or hours that each child attended the day care and the days or hours that each child was absent.
Individuals are encouraged to report cases of suspected fraud in the Food Stamp Program, Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program, the Child Care Assistance Program, or the Kinship Care Program by calling the DSS toll-free hotline at 1-800-256-3150 or at www.dss.louisiana.gov/reportfraud