Daycare owner sentenced to prison for fraudulent claims

Dec 21, 2018

Federal officials say a local daycare owner convicted on charges of stealing government funds has been sentenced to a year in prison.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Tariq Butt, 42, was also ordered to pay $305,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maura K. O’Donnell, who handled the case, stated that in February 2015, Butt and his wife, Halima Mohammed, opened Twinkle Stars Day Care Center, then Candyland Daycare in Buffalo in July 2015. 

Prosecutors say the couple submitted hundreds of false and fraudulent claims in 2016 seeking reimbursement for child care eligible for block grant funds. O'Donnell says Butt knew the claims were falsified.

Mohammed was previously convicted and sentenced to five months in prison and three years of supervised release to include five months home detention.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

CORRECTION: Earlier versions of this story featured a photo of  Candy Land Daycare in West Seneca. It has no connection to Tariq Butt, Halima Mohammed and the Candyland Daycare in Buffalo named by the U.S. Attorney.