April 8, 2014
By Stephanie West
Albany, NY – TheraCare a non-union outside contractor of preschool special education services, overcharged municipalities by more than $875,000. The improper staff bonuses and executive compensation over a three-year period were paid by local school districts in New York State.
“Audits by my office have found a continuing pattern of abuse in the state’s preschool special education sector, ”DiNapoli said. “Many providers are continuing to take advantage of lax oversight to give themselves excessive salaries and unearned bonuses. Taxpayer dollars meant for children with special needs are being wasted. This has to stop.”
TheraCare, headquartered in New York City, is a for-profit organization that provides special education services to children between the ages of three and five who reside in New York City as well as Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties. TheraCare served 651 students during the 2010-11 school year and reported program-related costs for reimbursement of about $50.1 million for the three fiscal years ended June 30, 2011.
DiNapoli has identified fraud and improper use of funds in a recent series of audits of special education providers. His office has completed 22 audits of preschool special education providers, finding nearly $22 million in unsupported or inappropriate charges. In December, Governor Cuomo signed into law legislation mandating audits of every preschool special education services program provider in the state by the Comptroller’s Office.