Wisconsin is trying to recover over $8 million from roughly 300 child care providers shut down for cheating the taxpayer-subsidized Wisconsin Shares program.
But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the state's system for collecting the money has gaps -- and it's unlikely taxpayers will be repaid in full soon.
In one case, a provider convicted of scamming $264,000 is repaying $42 a month. At that rate, it would take nearly 525 years.
A task force created in 2009 was investigating whether the convicts had assets. But those investigations were dropped.
Now, the Department of Children and Families hasn't documented all of the stolen money. State prosecutors say they lack forensic accounting skills. And the Corrections Department leaves discretion to probation agents, who don't systematically investigate offenders' ability to pay.