(LIMA, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today Nekosha T. James-Mitchell of Lima has been found guilty on 13 felony counts involving two Lima state-funded daycare operations she owned and operated. An Allen County jury reached the verdict Monday night after a five day trial.
James-Mitchell was found guilty of fraudulently billing the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for daycare work by falsifying records of attendance, which amounted to approximately $26,948 in June and July of 2011, to care for 17 children. A jury also found she was guilty of taking $4,054 from the Aurora Gonzales Community Center in Toledo, Ohio. James-Mitchell claimed that money helped feed kids at the daycare operations, when in fact it did not.
There were never any kids at the Lima daycare centers James-Mitchell operated – All Together We Grow at 431 South Prospect Street and Kosha's Kinder Kare at 1137 Simons Street. James-Mitchell worked with four mothers and billed the system for the daycare services of their 17 children combined, so they could all make money. Those four mothers have also been indicted and are at various stages of their cases.
"Sadly, our investigators believe this is not just a problem in Lima, Ohio," said Attorney General DeWine. "Scammers are taking money from a system that is designed to help struggling working parents provide daycare for their children. I hope, one investigation and one prosecution at a time, we can send a strong message that this will not be tolerated."
Maggie Tomaro, an Associate Assistant Attorney General, prosecuted this case. The Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) led the criminal investigation, with help from Ohio Department of Taxation investigators, Allen County Department of Job and Family Services investigators, and officers from the Lima Police Department.
James-Mitchell was found guilty of:
- 1 count engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity with a specification (felony of the 1st degree).
- 4 counts of tampering with records (felony of the 3rd degree).
- 4 counts of forgery (felony of the 5th degree).
- 1 count of grand theft (felony of the 4th degree).
- 1 count of theft (felony of the 5th degree).
- 1 count of failure to pay 2008 state taxes (felony of the 5th degree).
- 1 count of failure to pay state employee withholding taxes (felony of the 5th degree).
James-Mitchell is one of ten people in Allen County Common Pleas Court who has been found guilty of or has pleaded guilty to charges related to fraudulent daycare operations. Six others in the Lima-area have been indicted.
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840