The operator of three Brooklyn daycare centers has been convicted of grand larceny and bribery for stealing more than $50,000 from NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), falsifying vouchers, bribing government employees, and running an unsafe daycare facility.
Owen Larman, 44, of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, was convicted Thursday, May 4 of grand larceny, bribery, criminal possession of a forged instrument (11 counts) and offering a false instrument for filing. Larman is a convicted felon who was found guilty of operating a $12 million mortgage fraud scheme in 2007 and forced to shut down his Flatbush day care centers in 2014.
Larman stole approximately $51,667 in voucher funds from ACS between June 2012 and April 2013, said Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
“This defendant stole from the City, falsified documents and bribed a public employee… the defendant not only broke the law to line his pockets – he did so while entrusted with the care and well-being of dozens of young children,” said Gonzalez.
Larman opened three “Next to Home” daycare centers between 2007 and 2011, according to trial testimony. The centers, serving infants, toddlers, and school-age children, were primarily paid through ACS vouchers given to families to cover some or all of the cost of childcare services.
In addition, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) found that in 2011, one of Larman daycare centers in Flatbush was grossly overcrowded with inadequate staff, according to trial evidence. The center had a permit for seven children but had as many as 78 — which was accomplished by hiding kids on buses during inspections.
And what’s more, those same buses were found to be unequipped to properly transport young children, at times with two to three infants sitting in one car seat.
Also in 2011, Larman filed permits for a “Next to Home” center for school-age children in East Flatbush, and applied for vouchers at an address that turned out to be falsified, according to court documents. The defendant forged signatures to get funding for children who were not receiving any services from his daycare centers.
In order to spin this complicated scheme, Larman bribed an ACS employee to fax him the required forms each month, said Gonzales. The ACS employee also was arrested and charged but signed a cooperation agreement and testified against the defendant at trial.
The defendant will be sentenced on May 31, where he faces up to 15 years in prison.