Police say the director of enrollment at a Massachusetts daycare thought up an elaborate plan to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from families.
The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) released a statement saying in part that they are "assisting law enforcement in an investigation into a former employee of the South Shore Stars program in Weymouth."
Officials say the suspect is Demetris Pringle, who worked as director of enrollment at South Shore Stars for three years before he was fired in early March.
Authorities say the scam was finally exposed after a client showed up to pay for a bill but Pringle was out sick.
“She said her money got all messed up because of him,” said Roy Wilson, whose two nieces are enrolled at the nonprofit early childcare center in Weymouth.
Investigators say Wilson’s family is just one of dozens of families at the daycare who was tricked into paying Pringle thousands of dollars through an elaborate scheme.
“I think it’s terrible," Wilson said. "Taking advantage of them. It’s hard enough to get their kids to go to a place like this you know. It’s really wrong.”
Investigators say for about 8 months, Pringle was underreporting parents’ wages, so the state would pay for their daycare expenses.
Police say he then billed the families directly and pocketed the money by setting up a limited liability company to collect the cash.
It’s believed the scheme involved hundreds of thousands dollars.
Pringle is also accused of stealing clients files, which included social security numbers and tax information.
“He shouldn’t get away with that, I know that," Pringle said. "Took advantage of my nieces.”
Pringle was arraigned Wednesday, charged with breaking and entering and larceny by a scheme.
Authorities say more information is still coming to light, and they believe there could be even more victims.
The EEC went on to say in their statement that "The Department takes all allegations of criminal activity in EEC-licensed or funded programs seriously and will work with authorities to safeguard state funds for child care subsidies provided to families in the Commonwealth.”