The heads of four child care centers in Lincoln and Omaha have been indicted on a scheme involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies.
Two men — Seth Mock, the owner of Mock's Loving Life Learning Center in Omaha, and Abdikadir Miji, the owner of Miji Child Care Center in Omaha — are charged with money laundering and two counts of theft of government property.
Three others — Aileen Njoroge, the director of Mock's Loving Life Learning Center; Mubanga Chongo-Ofafa, the owner of Little Blessings centers in Omaha and Lincoln; and Miji's wife, Naima Haji, the owner of Comfort Home Care and M&N Day Care Center in Omaha — all face single counts of theft.
In indictments unsealed this week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Russell detailed the thefts that totaled more than $350,000 in federal funds under the Child Care and Development Fund Program.
To be eligible for the federal funds, children need to be under 13 or up to 19 if physically or mentally incapable of caring for themselves, plus live with a family member who qualifies for the program financially and is working or attending job training or in school.
Child care providers submit claims electronically to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for reimbursement for dates and times they provided care to qualifying children.
In the indictments, Russell alleged that Miji, Haji, Mock, Chongo-Ofafa and Njoroge all submitted false claims about children attending their child care centers in order to receive payments to which they weren't owed.
The claims involving Mock, Chongo-Ofafa and Njoroge added up to $253,000.
The claims involving Miji and Haji added up to $100,000.
Mock and Miji also allegedly withdrew money obtained through the scheme from their banks, which led to the money laundering charges.