Minn. Audit Finds No Child Care Fraud-Terror Link

Minn. Audit Finds No Child Care Fraud-Terror Link

Updated: March 13, 2019 11:42 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota's legislative auditor says he can't substantiate allegations that money defrauded from a state child care program found its way to terror organizations overseas.

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Lawmakers asked for the report following TV reports last year alleging that fraud in the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program ran as high as $100 million annually. The KMSP-TV reports, partly citing unidentified sources, also said state and federal agents had tracked some of the money overseas and that they believed some of the cash was likely being skimmed by terrorist groups.

The report released Wednesday says investigators didn't find evidence to substantiate a connection between fraud money and support for a terrorist organization.

It says fraud in the child care program is a recognized problem, but it couldn't establish a reliable estimate of how big.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt says it's clear that state agencies have not been aggressive enough in putting a stop to the fraud. He calls that "outrageous" and says new leadership is needed across state agencies that will make fighting fraud their top priority.

Minnesota's commissioner of human services, Tony Lourey, pledged to root out fraud from the program. He says any misuse of taxpayer dollars will not be tolerated.

Lourey says his agency has a great deal of work ahead to better prevent, detect and investigate fraud. He also says his agency will establish a stakeholders group to advise on how to improve the integrity of the child care program while ensuring equitable access for all families served by it.

The commissioner says Gov. Tim Walz's budget includes money for improvements.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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