LIMA — A woman who was the ringleader behind a daycare fraud scheme that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars said Monday she didn’t like prison.
For Nekosha James-Mitchell, prison was a terrible experience. A judge is betting on the threat of going back is enough to get James-Mitchell to pay restitution.
Judge Jeffrey Reed granted early release to James-Mitchell, retaining the ability to send her back to prison should she screw up.
“I want to see a serious effort and see you take this serious and get this restitution paid,” Reed said.
Reed said it was better having James-Mitchell out working to pay restitution then costing taxpayers more money sitting in prison.
She will have to serve four years probation and repay $31,000 in restitution. James-Mitchell also has a $50,000 fine hanging over her head.
James-Mitchell broke down as she explained her experience in prison.
“When I arrived at (prison), I was stripped of everything but my heart,” she said. “Prison has been a very hostile and disgracing and most uncomfortable place I’ve ever been. It’s not where I want to spend another day of my life.”
Assistant Ohio Attorney General Micah Ault opposed early release. He said James-Mitchell was facing a long sentence when the judge gave her four years. He said four years is appropriate for the crime.
When she was sentenced in September, James-Mitchell denied committing a crime. She blamed others who worked for her.
James-Mitchell ran All Together We Grow, at 431 S. Prospect St., and Kosha’s Kinder Kare, at 1137 Simon St. The judge ordered she forfeit both homes to the state.
State officials later discovered she only owned one of the homes, valued at $27,000. That property, however, has $162,000 in liens, Ault said.