Daycare Owner Linked to Fatal Van Crash Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
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Daycare Owner Linked to Fatal Van Crash Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

October 25, 2012

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A daycare owner linked to a fatal van crash and under investigation for fraud is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to help escape her mounting debts, according to a report from The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sources say that Lavonia Lewars, who has been unemployed for several months, is looking to liquidate her assets, which are worth roughly $38,450, in order to shed more than $600,000 worth of unpaid debt.

Lewars is filing for bankruptcy in the midst of a troubling personal period, as her Louisville daycare facility, Heavenly Angels Children Centers, which includes three branches, was forced to close this summer after a fatal van accident.

The accident occurred in June, when a Lewars-owned van carrying 14 children down a Louisville highway crashed into a tree. One adult, a 31-year-old van monitor, died in the accident, but the children and the driver of the van miraculously survived, although most of them suffered injuries.

Police investigators reportedly believe that a blown tired may have caused the accident, but this potentially mitigating fact has not removed the threat of civil lawsuits against Lewars.

In addition to the tragic van accident, Lewars was also indicted this summer after another investigation discovered that Heavenly Angels was allegedly engaged in widespread fraud.

Sources say a grand jury indicted Lewars for allegedly defrauding the state out of more than $300,000 after falsely inflating the number of children who were enrolled in her day care facilities.

This investigation, which was launched by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, concluded that Lewars had unlawfully collected subsidies that were intended for low-income families with minor children.

A criminal attorney representing Lewars, however, recently told sources that his client is discussing a potential plea agreement with the state prosecutor, which could help reduce her potential punishment.

While the criminal actions are getting resolved, Lewars will begin negotiating with her 81 creditors, including several employees owed back wages, in bankruptcy court.

This is not her first experience with bankruptcy. Lewars filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2006, but her case was eventually dismissed, according to local sources.


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