A Brooklyn daycare operator is accused of faking records to falsely enroll children in her program so she could claim thousands in state funds.
Liliana Godzhinsky, 63, was charged Tuesday with falsifying records and offering kickbacks to parents to help her to collect state childcare subsidies she was not entitled to receive.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said Godzhinsky was caught on tape paying cash to parents in order to help her commit the fraud. She is accused of collecting more than $25,000 over two years.
Investigators said there were at least three cases of "ghost children" being enrolled in Godzhinsky's program. They never attended, even though bogus records said they did, Hynes said.
"Stealing from children is among the lowest of crimes, and that is exactly what this defendant did by depleting state education funds to line her own pockets," Hynes said.
Godzhinsky runs the Luna Park Day Care Center as well as the Small Wonder Day Care Center in Brooklyn.
Godzhinsky cried during her court appearance on the 19 counts. If convicted she could face up to 7 years in prison.
Her attorney Joseph Mure said his client denies the charges and is devastated by the corruption allegations.
State Welfare Inspector Attorney General Sean Courtney played an undercover video at a news conference Tuesday that allegedly shows Godzhinsky paying $5,000 cash to a confidential informant.
"By billing for no-show children, they cheat the city's funding agency ... and the public at large," said Courtney.
Officials said there is no evidence any of the children were in danger at either clinic.