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Former owner of Eau Claire County child care centers charged with $100,000 fraud

A former owner of two child care centers in Eau Claire County has been charged with defrauding the state-funded care program for the working poor.

Sarah Wiley-Jorgenson is due in court Thursday, on allegations that she over-billed the Wisconsin Shares program of more than $100,000.

Prosecutors said she repeatedly billed the state for children for whom she was not actually caring.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Wiley-Jorgenson was warned to keep better attendance records during a five-year period, even as she opened a second care facility in Altoona.

The paper said the state revoked her licenses last year, but has not recovered the tax money in question.

In February, she said the only thing she was guilty of was being a bad business-woman and she denied committing fraud.

The Journal Sentinel has published a series of stories this year on alleged abuses in the Wisconsin Shares program.

The paper said it identified $2.7 million in suspected fraudulent payments but only part of the money has been recovered.

Wisconsin Shares is a 12-year-old program that offers subsidized child care to about 34,000 low-income families.