Day care operator pocketed $6 million in child care subsidy payments: feds

Aleesha McDowell allegedly used the cash to buy a luxury car and home.

SHARE Day care operator pocketed $6 million in child care subsidy payments: feds
Dirksen Federal Courthouse

Aleesha McDowell faces 12 counts of wire fraud, prosectors say.

Sun-Times file photo

A child care center owner with locations in Chicago and the south suburbs allegedly defrauded the state of $6.1 million subsidy payments, allegedly using the cash to buy a luxury car and home.

Aleesha McDowell, owner of several Kiddy Kollege and Kreative Kidz Academy locations, allegedly instructed her directors to help parents fill out forms with false information to get payments from the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Child Care Assistance Program, federal prosecutors in Chicago said.

From 2012 and 2020, McDowell allegedly helped falsify these documents, including fraudulent pay stubs and income verification letters regarding parental eligibility to qualify for state subsidy payments, prosecutors said.

McDowell is accused of using some of the money to buy a 2017 Bentley Bentayga and a house in Mokena. She faces 12 counts of wire fraud, prosecutors said. Four of her directors also face counts of wire fraud.

She owns locations at A&A Kiddy Kollege Inc. in Calumet City and A&A Kiddy Kollege 2 in Calumet Park. In Chicago, she also owns Kreative Kidz Academy Inc., Kreative Kidz Academy II Inc. and Kreative Kidz Academy III Inc.

Most of the defendants have made initial appearances in federal court in Chicago.

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