Hauwa Al-Hassan, the owner and CEO of Guidance Child Care Center, is accused of defrauding the U.S. Government out of at least $100,000 in a scheme prosecutors allege she taught others to do in Nigeria.
Using cameras installed near the daycare, investigators found Al-Hassan billed for more children and more hours than her business served.
This was part of a national investigation that led to arrests in six states. Guidance has been audited by the state of Missouri four times. Each time, fraudulently billed hours were discovered and last year they were served a letter for noncompliance.
Al-Hassan has struggled financially for years. She filed for bankruptcy in 1993 and 2013. Plus, there are federal and state liens on her home and Guidance totaling close to $50,000 since 2008. At the time of her arrest, she was up to date on all of her bills except for a Missouri Department of Revenue lien of $1,000.
Wednesday, Al-Hassan pleaded not guilty to theft of government property charges. The Nigerian immigrant was released after posting a $25,000 bond. Her trial date is August 15.
Dia Wall can be reached at email@example.com.