A Buffalo daycare owner has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for stealing government funds. 

Tariq Butt, 42, of Buffalo, was also ordered to pay $305,000 in restitution to the Dept. of Health and Human Services. 

According to the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case, Butt and his wife, Halima Mohammed, opened Twinkle Stars Day Care Center and Candyland Daycare, both in the City of Buffalo, in 2015. 

Between Jan. 2016 and Sept. 2016, Butt submitted hundreds of false and fraudulent claims to Erie County seeking reimbursement for daycare services provided to kids eligible for Child Care and Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. 

Butt knew that the children listed on the claims did not actually attend the daycares on the dates and times claimed, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

Erie County paid a total of $305,000 to both daycares for services which were never rendered. 

Mohammed was previously convicted and sentenced to five months in prison and three years of supervised release, including five months of home detention.