Woman sentenced for faking day care records
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com January 10, 2013 4:50PM
Updated: February 12, 2013 2:44PM
A Gary woman will serve 27 months in prison in exchange for admitting she stole $121,600 from the state by lying about how often she watched children at her day care business.
Kimberlyn Cross, 50, disputed several statements at her sentencing hearing Thursday at the U.S. District Court in Hammond.
“I didn’t plan it,” she told U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen, going on to suggest the crime happened because she was trying to close her business, although it wasn’t clear how that spurred the crime.
Cross admitted last year that for about four years, she recruited mothers with young children to act as though they sent their children to her day care and then helped them apply with the state for reimbursement because of their financial status. Cross insisted during the sentencing hearing that she did watch all the children, just not all of the time.
The women were given cards they were supposed to use every time their children attended the day care. Instead, Cross took the cards and swiped them even on days she didn’t watch the children.
Cross, speaking through tears, told Van Bokkelen she had only ever tried to help her family, including her mother and sisters.
“All I’ve ever done is give, give, give,” she said.
Her attorney, Scott King, said Cross got into financial trouble, including bankruptcy, because of all the help she provides for her family.
“The thing that really strikes me ... is what a dynamic person she’s been in terms of providing for others,” King said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Bell disputed that Cross committed her crimes to help others, saying the fraud started in 2007 and still was taking place when FBI agents served a search warrant in 2011.
“Meaning the defendant on her own didn’t give it up,” Bell said during the hearing.
Bell also noted the money Cross stole came from a program to provide breakfast to low-income children and that she deprived people who actually needed the financial assistance.
Van Bokkelen said he was concerned that Cross wasn’t taking full responsibility for the crime but said he would grant the government’s request for 27 months, which fell below the 33 months to 41 months range sentencing guidelines suggested.
“What you did, you did because you chose to do it,” he said.