Owners of Omaha child care centers sentenced for theft of government money

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A federal judge Friday sentenced an Omaha couple for theft of government property for getting thousands of dollars by submitting false claims about the number of children attending their day cares.

Chief United States District Judge John M. Gerrard gave Abdikadir Miji, 32, eight months in prison plus three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $100,287 in restitution.

Naimi Haji, 29, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to make $42,840 restitution.

U.S. Attorney Joe Kelly said the couple owned Comfort Home Care and M&N Day Care Center, which were licensed by the state of Nebraska for in-home family child care. Haji signed contracts with the state to receive reimbursement payments through the Child Care and Development Fund grant program for child care expenses for eligible children. Miji and Haji then submitted claims for reimbursement.

Kelly said an investigation by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that between June 1, 2015, and April 1, 2016, Miji and Haji submitted false claims relating to the number of children attending the day care facilities in order to receive payments through the program.

The claims contained false information about the number of students attending the day cares on given days and the hours students were at each day care. Based on the false claims, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reimbursed the two $42,840. Miji and Haji then converted those funds for their own personal use.

The total loss from the day care centers amounted to $100,278.

“Every dollar in the taxpayer-funded child care program is vitally important to our nation’s families,” said Curt Muller, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Working with our state and federal law enforcement partners, we will investigate and seek justice against those who would attack these crucial benefits.”

This case was investigated by U.S. HHS Office of Investigations and Office of Audit Services, the State of Nebraska HHS Investigations, Department of Homeland Security and Housing & Urban Development Office of Investigations.

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