Daycare owner could face 20 years if convicted on fraud charges


by WHAS11

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 30 at 5:57 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- There was no comment from Lavonia Lewars as she walked out of court Monday.

The former owner of Heavenly Angels Child Care pleaded not guilty to fraudulently taking more than $300,000 of tax payer money.

The Commonwealth Attorney's office filed more than 1,400 pages of evidence for their case.

“The investigation reveals she stole over $300,000 in the calendar year of 2011,” said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney John Balenovich.

Documents show Lewars paid parents to enroll their children in her Louisville day care program, so she could get more money from the state. However, many of those kids never attended.

Investigators have been tracking Lewars for quite some time. They say the investigation began well before her day care van crashed in June that injured 14 kids and killed one adult on Algonquin Parkway.

“Steve Simpson is the investigator and he was in the process of working on it [the case] when that accident happened,” said Balenovich.

Lewars faces charges of theft by deception and intending to defraud to obtain benefits both Class C felonies.  If Lewars is convicted on the charges, she could spend a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Lewars' next hearing is scheduled for September 13.

The commonwealth attorney's office says they haven't yet decided if she would have to pay back the money she allegedly stole.