MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 47-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to stealing money in the form of child care subsidies, the United States Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Khadra Abdisafad Hirsi, who was the director and co-owner of Ace DayCare Center in Eden Prairie, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul to one count of theft of public money.

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According to her guilty plea and court documents, Hirsi’s day care provided childcare services for many families who participated in the Child Care Assistance Program, which provides low-income families with childcare services.

Hirsi is accused of knowingly submitting Child Care Assistance Program billing forms that falsly inflated the amount of children who received services. As a result, she fraudulently got around $20,000 from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and the State Of Minnesota for childcare services that were not actually provided.

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Minnesota Department of Human Services Inspector General Jerry Kerber’s office oversees fraud prevention and detection efforts for state public assistance programs.

“With our partners, we are aggressively targeting child care providers who try to collect payments from public programs for services they don’t provide,” Kerber said. “The seriousness of this crime is underscored by the fact that more than 6,100 Minnesota families are waiting to receive child care assistance.”

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This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General.