HARRISBURG -A Philadelphia child care worker accused of defrauding the Pennsylvania Department of Education out of more than $400,000 was arrested yesterday by agents from the Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendant as Tyron Ali, 35, Philadelphia. Ali is the president of Logan Child Care Resource Center, 4802 N. Broad St., Philadelphia. The Logan Center is a non-profit organization that operates as both a home provider and sponsoring organization.
Evidence and testimony regarding the case was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.
Corbett said, “The grand jury uncovered a concerted plan by Ali to use his non-profit organization as a vehicle to commit massive theft of taxpayer dollars, which was designated for low-income children and senior citizens.”
Corbett said that the Logan Center participated in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, which is a federally funded program administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to provide nutritious meals and snacks to low-income individuals who are enrolled in participating child and adult care centers.
According to the grand jury, Ali was required to forward an accurate list of legitimate expenses to the Department of Education for all daycare centers under the Logan umbrella.
The Department of Education would then forward the funding via direct deposit into Ali’s bank account for reimbursement to the day care centers for meal costs.
The charges state that Ali submissions included ghost employees on the payroll, forged bank statements, counterfeit payroll records, counterfeit employee payroll checks, cashier’s checks, and inflation of expenses and administrative costs well beyond the expenses and costs actually incurred by Logan to the Department of Education.
“The Logan Child Care Center was an effective front used to commit massive theft of taxpayer dollars, which had been earmarked for low-income children and adults,” Corbett said. “Through his scheme, Ali diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars in non-profit funding to his own accounts for personal use.”
According to the grand jury, Ali submitted highly inflated home provider payments and administrative costs to the Department of Education. From June 2005 through September 2005, Ali submitted more than $205,000 in home-provider reimbursement and more than $32,000 in administrative costs. Bank records indicate however, that Ali actually paid approximately $61,889 in home provider payments and $29,510 in administrative costs.
Agents estimate that between 2004 and 2007 Ali defrauded the Department of Education out of more than $400,000.
Corbett said that Ali also included ghost employee salaries in his administrative cost figures totaling at least $36,000.
The grand jury found that Ali had a monthly pattern of writing unauthorized checks to himself, making unauthorized ATM withdrawals and unauthorized point-of-sale transactions from Logan’s accounts.
Corbett said that an extensive amount of these non-profit funds were used by Ali for travel, dining, clothing purchases, jewelry, car payments, insurance payments and other personal items.
According to the grand jury, Ali used non-profit funds at the area restaurants including Capital Grille, The Latham Hotel, Society Hill Hotel, and Zanzibar Blue. Ali also allegedly used non-profit money to purchase high-end clothing at Boyd’s Bottino Shoes, Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren and for payment to a local Mercedes-Benz dealer.
The grand jury also found that Ali traveled extensively and paid for AMTRAK tickets and Joe’s Caribbean Cruises with non-profit funds and even used a Logan check card to pay approximately $1,500 in City of Philadelphia parking violations.
Corbett said that this is part of an ongoing investigation and more charges are expected.
Ali is charged with 371 counts of forgery, 371 counts of tampering with public records or information, 371 counts of illegal use of a computer, 371 counts of tampering with records or identification, 371 counts of securing the execution of documents by deception, 228 counts of bad checks, one count of dealing in proceeds of illegal activity, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of theft by unlawful taking, one count of theft by deception and one count of receiving stolen property.
Ali was taken into custody yesterday, April 2, 2009. He was arraigned before Harrisburg Magisterial District Judge Joseph Solomon and lodged in the Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $750,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 15, 2009.
He will be prosecuted in Dauphin County by Senior Deputy Attorney General John Flannery of the Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecutions Section.