Five day care workers in Mattawa face federal theft charges - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Five day care workers in Mattawa face federal theft charges

Associated Press - August 30, 2007 8:35 AM ET

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Five day care workers in Mattawa are facing federal theft and witness tampering charges.

The grand indictments were announced yesterday by U.S. Attorney James McDevitt in Spokane.

The case stems from an investigation by the state Department of Social and Health Services of about 50 day care workers in Mattawa in 2002.

That probe resulted in a civil rights lawsuit against the state agency -- but the civil action was stayed because of the federal probe.

The five defendants are accused of fraudulent billing for day care services from 2002 through last year and of trying to influence testimony by a witness.

The are 71-year-old Soledad Ramirez, a former day care worker, and four current workers -- 35-year-old Silvia Farias, 39-year-old Maria Puentes, 42-year-old Maria Ruiz and 35-year-old Maria de la O. Each could face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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