Black Country nursery boss accused over '£25k funding scam'
The boss of a nursery school pocketed around £25,000 of taxpayers money in a funding scam, a jury was told.
Kaljit Randhawa, who ran The Little Genius Academy – previously known as Baby Einsteins Nursery – in Great Bridge Street, West Bromwich, “systematically abused” the system, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
The 33-year-old cashed in on the Government’s Early Years and Nursery Education Funding schemes – which provided free nursery time for two-to-four year-olds from hard-up families, claimed Mr Simon Phillips, prosecuting.
He alleged Randhawa confirmed bogus claims for funding credit from Sandwell Council knowing they were untrue and misleading.
She had been trained by the local authority which made payments to nursery providers.
She knew, or should have known, how to confirm the applications were true and correct and understood the council should be contacted when circumstances changed, it was said.
The case centres on allegedly illegal applications involving 16 children.
Four of these had never been to the nursery, eight had left, three had only attended on a single ‘taster’ day and not returned, while claims were made for more hours than the final child spent at the nursery, claimed Mr Phillips.
He maintained the defendant did not appear to dispute the children were not at the nursery when the supposedly false claims were made.
She blamed poor administration, misunderstandings and other issues, the jury was told.
Randhawa, from Inkberrow Close, Oldbury, denies 16 charges of fraud by false representation, allegedly committed between January 2, 2017, and December 22, 2018.
The case, expected to last at least three weeks, continues.