Australian police have shut down almost 200 daycare centers after discovering the private businesses were linked to the Islamic state, motorcycle gangs and fraud schemes.
According to The Daily Mail, 114 of the nearly 200 daycares were in the suburbs of southwest Sydney. Another 49 centers were in the Canterbury-Bankstown area, 25 in Liverpool, 23 in Fairfield and 17 in Auburn.
Police also say they arrested the director of one of the daycare centers at the Sydney airport. Police have speculated that he was leaving to fight for the Islamic State.
A 28-year-old man, Hussain Dandachi, was arrested after an investigation found he was involved in a $27 million fraud scheme where the money was being funneled to the Islamic State.
Dandachi pled guilty to doctoring fake invoices of about $100,000 for children who were not at his daycare. He was sentenced to 10 months in jail.
The Daily Telegraph also reported that another daycare was being operated in a house with no electricity.
The Fairfield-based Red Roses Family Day Care company was raided by police in May. Eighteen people were arrested as part of a $4 million fraud.
Police also say they are looking for some 150 parents who allegedly sold their children’s identities to help Red Roses qualify for government subsidies.
The Australian government says it will save about $674 million because they will not be paying for those fraudulent applications for children at the centers.
“(New South Wales) is leading the nation when it comes to combating unscrupulous providers,” said Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Sarah Mitchell. “As Minister, I make no apology for being relentless in ensuring there will be consequences for providers who do not operate in the best interest of children."
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