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Cumberland day-care owner sentenced to 18 months in jail

A Cumberland woman who bilked the B.C. government of more than $350,000 with three child-care facilities was sentenced this week to 18 months in jail.

Victoria Ann Rutenberg, 39, was also ordered to pay back $350,000 during her sentencing Monday in Courtenay.

Rutenberg was found guilty in 2013 of three counts of fraud over $5,000 following a 2011 investigation by the Comox Valley RCMP following a tip from the public, who worked jointly with Ministry of Children and Family Development’s fraud unit.

Rutenberg was the owner of After School Fun, formerly operating at Cumberland Elementary School, After School Fun Club, formerly operating at Royston Elementary School and Fun Club After School Care, formerly operating at Courtenay Elementary School.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robin Baird found her guilty of fraudulently receiving funds from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Child Care Operating Fund Program.

The Child Care Operating Funding Program provides operational funding to eligible licenced groups and licenced family childcare providers.

The funding support is intended to assist licenced child-care providers with the cost of providing care. Funding amounts are based on enrolment and hours of care.

RCMP noted during their investigation Rutenberg failed to report the closures of two of her facilities and overbilled the third active location until May 31, 2011.

She provided fraudulent documentation on an annual and monthly basis to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, resulting in payments of $357,811.50.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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