I-Team investigates alleged theft, fraud of taxpayer money by daycare owner

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by WHAS11

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 21, 2012 at 11:25 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 21 at 11:40 PM

(WHAS11) -- The I-Team investigates the alleged theft and fraud of taxpayer dollars by a Louisville daycare owner.

As WHAS11's Bryan Baker shows us in this I-Team investigation, Lewars is accused of cheating the system by getting tens of thousands of state tax dollars she didn't deserve.

Not many people have seen Lavonia Lewars lately, more than a month since her daycare van crashed, killing one, and injuring 15 others.  She closed three locations days later.

Now she has a court date, indicted Thursday for fraudulently obtaining public assistance, your tax dollars, and theft by deception of over $10,000.

The indictment says Lewars cheated the system by overbilling the state $306,000 dollars for care Heavenly Angels didn't provide in 2011.

Hundreds of documents showed Lewars billed Kentucky for 134 kids a month, even though her max capacity was 40 kids.

Susan Vessels, Executive Director of Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C) says Heavenly Angels stayed open because Lewars appealed a previous state sanction asking her to pay back $222,000  in overpaid benefits.

The I-Team found that in one month the daycare was paid about $125,000 dollars.

4-C calls the $222,000 the state said she was overpaid, a drop in the bucket.

If Lewars is convicted, she faces 5 to 10 years in prison for each count of theft and fraud.

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