Fort Bend County launched the Childcare Provider Assistance Program to support and help stabilize Licensed Child Care Providers and Fort Bend families facing financial instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is funded through the federal CARES Act. Eligible Licensed Child Care Providers can receive up to $8,000, and eligible Registered Child Homes can receive up to $5,000 from the program.
Misuse of Childcare Provider Assistance Program Funds in Fort Bend
The Fort Bend Childcare Assistance Program requires that childcare providers use the grant funds in specific ways. As part of the program application, providers must agree:
- to participate in the program and use the funds to assist families in need, and
- that they will apply the funds as scholarships to families who cannot afford childcare or those in arrears with childcare fees caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The childcare assistance program is not giving away “free money.” Spending grant funds in a manner not allowed under the program requirements are illegal under Texas state law. If Fort Bend law enforcement discovers that you were spending grant funds on personal rather than permitted business purchases, you could face criminal prosecution.
Unintended Recipients of Childcare Provider Assistance Program Funds in Fort Bend
To be eligible to receive funds from the Fort Bend Childcare Provider Assistance Program, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be a Texas Licensed Child Care Center/Program or Texas Licensed Child Care Home Provider;
- The facility must be located in Fort Bend County; and
- COVID-19 must have negatively impacted the facility.
If applicants provide false information on their application or omit relevant information, they can be criminally prosecuted. CARES Act fraud investigations are a high priority in Fort Bend, and you will face severe consequences if you submit forged documents as a part of your application.
Common Criminal Charges for Childcare Provider Assistance Program Fraud in Fort Bend
You will face serious criminal charges if you commit Childcare Provider Assistance Program Fraud in Fort Bend. There are various criminal charges that you could face depending on the unique facts of your case. Some of the potential charges that you could face if you defraud Fort Bend County or misuse program funds are listed below.
- Forgery: Forgery involves altering or making writing that appears to be authorized by another person, executed at a different time or place, or a copy of an original where there was no original. It is a crime if it is done with the intent to defraud or harm another person.
- Fraudulent Use of Identifying Information (Identity Theft): Identity theft involves using someone else’s identifying information to transfer money or obtain goods, services, or other things of value without the other person’s consent.
- Fraudulent Destruction, Removal, or Concealment of Writing: A person commits this offense if, with intent to defraud or harm another, he destroys, removes, conceals, alters, substitutes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of writing other than a governmental record.
- Theft: A person commits theft if he unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.
- Money Laundering: Money laundering is the process used to conceal the identity, source, and destination of funds connected to criminal activity.
These are just a few of the many potential charges that you could face. The charges filed against a defendant will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.
What are the Penalties for Childcare Provider Assistance Program Fraud in Fort Bend?
The penalties that you could face depend on various factors, including the specific charges and the amount of money you took. Charges can vary significantly from Class C misdemeanors penalized by a $500 fine to first-degree felonies punished by five to 99 years in jail and fines of up to $10,000. Having an aggressive attorney on your side will ensure that you face the lowest possible penalties.
In addition to prison time and fines, a criminal conviction can have life-changing consequences. It can negatively impact your personal relationships, professional career, and educational opportunities.
Your Sugar Land Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is being investigated for Childcare Provider Assistance Program fraud, you should reach out to a Fort Bend criminal defense attorney experienced in fighting state fraud charges. Fraud cases can be very complicated, and it is critical to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side. Adam Capetillo is a Fort Bend County native who will protect your rights and provide a skilled and aggressive defense. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.