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Two due in court in what's called state's biggest case of child care fraud

Two Milwaukee women are due in court today (Thursday) in what's called the biggest case of child care fraud in state history.

Shartavia Adams, 23, and her mother, Bernice Watson, 41, are both accused of bilking at least $360,000 in state subsidies.

Prosecutors said Adams was licensed to have 68 kids per shift, each providing up to $200 a week in state subsidies, for the Tender Moments center. But a Milwaukee County worker found only six youngsters in the place.

That triggered a year-long probe, in which authorities said Adams and Watson recruited women to enroll their kids - the two claimed they hired the mothers, and paid them low enough to qualify for the state subsidies - and they took the state money without providing the service.

Officials said they had already collected $1.7 million when the investigation began. But while half was said to be fraudulent, Milwaukee County prosecutor David Feiss said they could only prove $360,000 in false benefits

He said "If they kept their greed at a lower level, they probably would have gotten away with it."

He said others would be charged, but not the parents. Feiss said he needed their cooperation to unravel the case.

Adams said she didn't know of any fraud. Her child care license has been revoked.

Officials said Watson was previously convicted of taking state money for children not in her care.