Brooklyn day care operator gets up to 15 years for stealing $50,000
An operator of three day care centers in Brooklyn was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Wednesday for stealing more than $50,000 from the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) funds.
Owen Larman, a 44-year-old from Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, was cool, calm and collected when he walked into the courtroom. He even blew a kiss to his mother and girlfriend before Justice Guy Mangano handed down the 15-year sentence that quickly changed his mood.
“What I see is a conman, a manipulative man,” Mangano said. “[Larman] spent three years in jail [for a previous federal crime] and that did not rehabilitate him. I have seen no contrition. This [day care] program was designed to help underprivileged children, many of whom have single mothers.
“This is well beyond rehabilitation,” Mangano said. “You can’t steal from the city of New York, or put children in danger … These were despicable acts.”
Larman was sentenced to 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison on Wednesday after he was convicted on May 5 of grand larceny, bribery, 11 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument and 11 counts of offering a false instrument for filing.
It was determined that he was guilty of operating three day care centers named “Next to Home” that were paid primarily through ACS vouchers that are given to families to cover some, or all, of the cost of childcare services.
Assistant District Attorney Samantha Magnani asked that the judge give the maximum punishment possible to Larman because he “frequently bragged” about having bribed an ACS employee. She also explained that Larman put the children at risk, often leaving spoiled milk and alcohol within their reach.
“The evidence that came out during trial showed that he wanted to make as much money as possible … and was not concerned about the welfare of any of the children,” Magnani said. “Because of this, the people ask for the highest possible sentence due to the deplorable conditions the children were in.”
Trial testimony found that one of the centers on 1159 Flatbush Ave. that ran an after-school program was “grossly overcrowded” and had “inadequate staff to supervise the children.” Permits issued for that center were for up to seven school-aged children, but employees of the day care would hide children offsite or in busses during inspections.
According to court documents, Larman also was able to bribe an ACS employee so that he could apply to receive childcare vouchers for children who didn’t need or qualify for ACS vouchers at a fake day care location.
“What is being said is not true. I stand behind my community … I did not steal,” Larman said in court on Wednesday. “I didn’t set out to steal no money, your honor … It isn’t the way it looks or appears, sir.”
Larman had previously spent 3 1/2 years in prison for operating a $12 million mortgage fraud scam. Larman was also arrested for rape on Aug. 1, 2014 in a case that is still pending.
After the trial, Larman’s lawyer, David Jacobs, suggested that the case should have been a declared a mistrial due to a mix up with the jury.
“They really messed up,” said Jacobs, who explained that alternate juror number 2 had accidentally come in and sat in juror 12’s seat and that he had great suspicion that alternate jurors, who are supposed to be kept isolated from deliberations, were in fact a part of deliberations.
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