CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A Cranston woman was arrested Wednesday following accusations that she was fraudulently receiving payments from the Rhode Island Department of Human Services for her child care facility, according to Rhode Island State Police.
Vanessa Parente, 30, is charged with obtaining money under false pretenses, fraudulently obtaining assistance, and giving a false document to a public official.
Police said investigators began looking into her facility, Bambini Academy, in October 2019.
Investigators conducted an extensive audit, police said, and learned that Parente had collected thousands of dollars in child care assistance payments between 2016 and 2019 for children that did not attend the day care or were chronically absent. In total, Parente is accused of defrauding the state of more than $209,000.
“This investigation exemplifies what our team does every day to root out fraud on behalf of all Rhode Islanders,” Dorothy Pascale, chief of the Office of Internal Audit, said in a statement. “This case should serve as a warning that if you are benefiting from public funds under false pretenses, we will find you and hold you to account.”
Parente was arraigned by a justice of the peace and released on $2,500 personal recognizance. Her next court date is in November.