LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles County probation officer accused of bilking the state of $1.6 million in an alleged childcare fraud scheme pleaded not guilty Monday.
Frank Elliott Boyd III is charged with conspiracy, grand theft and perjury. He faces more than 20 years in state prison if convicted on all charges.
Prosecutors allege the 48-year-old Redondo Beach resident, together with an ex-girlfriend and four other co-defendants, urged parents to submit fraudulent documents to state and county agencies for child care that was never provided.
Using the name Crystal Stairs Inc., the group allegedly set up licensed home-based childcare centers and scouted parents to apply for subsidies from the county Department of Public Social Services and the Department of Education. Parents allegedly received kickbacks from the defendants in exchange for providing phony verification documents.
Boyd’s ex-girlfriend is said to have been the mastermind behind the scam, according to prosecutors. Her name has not yet been released and it is possible she is still at large.
Co-defendants Kevin Twain Williams and Ashley Nicole Moore have also entered not guilty pleas, and Nikita Monique Harrell is slated to appear in court Tuesday.
The District Attorney’s Office has issued arrest warrants for the other two defendants in the case, but has not confirmed if those suspects were in custody.
Boyd, who has been placed on unpaid leave, is one of 38 employees of the Probation Department arrested this year. Eleven of the arrests were on suspicion of drunken driving. Department records show that seven probation employees resigned in 2013 after their arrests and five were terminated because of criminal activity.
“It’s an embarrassment to the organization,” said Assistant Chief Probation Officer Don Meyer. He went on to say that the screening system for new employees has since “changed pretty dramatically.”
“It’s a new day here,” he said. Of the 500 candidates for recent job openings, only 44 employees reportedly made it through the “much more rigorous” process, which include background checks and polygraph tests.
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