A foster care placement agency will pay the state $1 million under terms of a settlement it reached with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, according to state officials.
The state alleged Community Care Resources Inc., of Middleton, overcharged taxpayers about $6 million between 2009 and 2011 and used some of the money for luxury cars, trips and excessive salaries for its owner, Dan Simon and his wife, Mary Simon, who also worked at CCR.
"Thanks to the stronger auditing tools that were granted to the department by the Legislature in 2011, DCF aggressively investigated and pursued the return of questioned costs and expenses that CCR claimed between 2009 and 2011," the department said in a statement.
CCR had contracts with 37 Wisconsin counties to place foster children in licensed homes and provide services to them and the families. CCR had asked an administrative law judge to dismiss the case earlier this year, claiming the state made numerous errors in coming up with its $6 million figure. The agency's license was revoked in February, but it continued to operate while it appealed the revocation.
CCR issued a statement Thursday saying it didn't defraud the state and that the state "erred and overstated in its accusations," the State Journal reported.
The agency's spokesman, Tim Roby, said in the statement that an independent analysis by forensic accounting firm Chortek & Gottschalk showed that all disputed payments were properly documented and that the vast majority of DCF's claims were the product of math and accounting errors by the state.
"For more than 25 years, CCR has been providing valuable foster-care licensing, training and treatment services for foster care families serving some of Wisconsin's neediest children," the company's statement said. "Its reputation as an outstanding resource for children and families has been hard earned and substantiated throughout this difficult legal review."
The statement refers to the settlement as an "accounting reconciliation," adding that CCR agreed to pay the department 17 percent of the total claims the department sought in reimbursement.
Earlier this year, Sen. Leah Vukmir, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, called for a criminal investigation by the state Department of Justice into the department's allegations. No criminal charges have been filed.