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State cuts off funding to 34 child care providers accused of fraud

State officials have cut off funding to 34 child-care providers accused of defrauding Wisconsin Shares, the tax-funded care program for the working poor.

The cases are now in the hands of a special law enforcement task force created after a state audit uncovered $18 million in fraudulent or questionable payments to child care providers last year.

The state did not give details of what the new fraud involved.

The Department of Children and Families said the funding cutoffs are part of a commitment to stop criminals from scamming the system.

Meanwhile, the Journal Sentinel said Milwaukee County coordinator Laurice Lincoln was escorted from her office last Friday.

She reportedly authorized a $25,000 payment to care-provider Latasha Jackson, at the same time the state was trying to collect more than$100,000 from Jackson in alleged false payments over a four-month period.

County officials would not say if Lincoln was suspended or fired.

They said an investigation was continuing. Jackson, who's gotten more than $3 million from Wisconsin Shares, is challenging the state's claim that it overpaid her.

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