A Buffalo day care operator faces up to 30 months in prison after admitting Wednesday that he stole federal funds intended for lower-income working families.
Tariq Butt, 41, owner of the Candy Land Day Care Center and Twinkle Stars Day Care Center, will also be required to pay $305,000 in restitution to the government as part of his guilty plea to theft of government funds.
Butt and his wife, Halima Mohamed, 35, were prosecuted as part of a national fraud investigation that touched almost every corner of the country. Mohamed pleaded guilty last week.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maura K. O'Donnell said the thefts by Butt took place during 2016 and involved hundreds of fraudulent claims to the Erie County office that oversees the federal child care program. Essentially, he was charging the government for taking care of kids who were never in his day care centers.
Butt, who is a native of Pakistan and could face deportation, will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo in November.