Police: Woman Swindled County Out of $41,000 in Child Care Assistance

A witness interviewed by police allegedly said Schwartz bragged about earning six figures while receiving county benefits.

A Burnsville woman accused of swindling an Eagan business for $183,000 now faces additional charges for allegedly defrauding Dakota County of roughly $41,000.

Laura Michelle Schwartz faces three felony counts of theft for wrongfully obtaining child care assistance, according to charges filed by the Dakota County Attorney's Office earlier this month. If convicted on a single count, Schwartz could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

According to the complaint, Schwartz had been drawing child care paychecks from the county since 2004. In June, 2009, a county financial worker requested an investigation into Schwartz for possible fraud.

The case was forwarded to a welfare fraud investigator, who reported that the State Fraud Hotline had received a call stating that Schwartz was an accountant who allegedly received "huge bonuses" and fixed her paperwork to continue receiving assistance.

An investigation into Schwartz' bank records revealed that Schwartz had under-reported her income when completing child care assistance applications, according to police. In 2009, police say Schwartz reported an annual income of $54,692. Upon reviewing bank records, however, investigators allegedly determined that Schwartz also had unreported ATM bank deposits of $57,413 in 2009.

In 2010, Schwartz reported an annual income of $50,130, but police allegedly found an additional $30,115 in unreported deposits.

Police say Schwartz was also periodically living with the father of Schwartz' youngest child, but failed to report his income to the county's child care assistance program.

The man, when interviewed by police, said he knew Schwartz was receiving child care benefits and said she had bragged about earning six figures.

Based on Schwartz' unreported income, police say she exceeded the maximum income limit for receiving child care benefits in 2009 and 2010. The total overpayment received by Schwartz since July 13, 2009 is estimated to be $41,178.13, according to the criminal complaint.

When police asked Schwartz whether she had reported all her income, she allegedly responded by saying "define income". During the interview, she allegedly told investigators that she was "between a rock and a hard place", talked about speaking to an attorney, then asked the officer to leave, according to the complaint.

In June, Schwartz , where she worked as an employee.


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