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Lawmakers call for criminal investigation of foster care agency

Published On: Feb 04 2013 03:27:12 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 04 2013 08:52:53 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Two Republican state lawmakers are calling for a criminal investigation of a Middleton foster care agency accused of misusing nearly $5 million in taxpayer money.

Sen. Leah Vukmir of Wauwatosa and Sen. Rob Cowles of Green Bay on Monday called for the state Department of Justice to investigate Community Care Resources.

Community Care Resources collects state money to place foster children in licensed homes.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families has revoked the license of the foster care agency following its own audit that found the agency inflated salaries and spent taxpayer money on luxury cars, personal travel and other inappropriate expenses between 2009 and 2011.

Owner Dan Simon has vigorously denied the allegations.

Cowles said in addition to the criminal investigation he is calling for a full review by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau.

The attorney for Community Care Resources said his clients are appealing the state audit and aren't aware of any criminal investigation at the moment.

Appealing the state findings means the Middleton business will continue to operate until the appeal is heard by the state Department of Administration's Division of Hearings and Appeals.

Under state law, Community Care Resources has a right to a hearing within 30 days of the hearing request unless it waives that right.

The state said "CCR waived the 30-day limit allowing for an undefined time period in which the appeal will be heard."

The Department of Children and Family Services said foster parents licensed by CCR will receive payments directly from their county rather than from CCR to ensure the payments' integrity.

The Department of Children and Families and the state Department of Justice said that due to policy they cannot confirm nor deny a possible investigation.

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