Woman in day-care fraud scheme gets prison for robbery

By Greg Sowinski

February 21, 2014

LIMA — A woman on probation for a day-care fraud case learned Thursday just how much she could push a judge before he said enough.

Desmeen Spence-Williams was convicted a year ago in a day-care fraud case. She then robbed a Walmart store and was charged with that. While out on bond, she tested positive for cocaine.

Judge Jeffrey Reed said he had enough. She needed prison to help her understand her life is going the wrong direction.

“I do get a sense that you just don’t give a damn and just want to do things your way,” Reed said.

The judge gave her two years in prison to change her life. Robbery is a third-degree felony charge.

In trying to stay out of prison, Spence-Williams told the judge she was doing her best and apologized.

“Is it doing your best while you’re out on community control to go out and do cocaine? Is it doing your best to go out to Walmart” to commit a robbery? Reed said.

The judge then asked her what she was thinking when she decided to use cocaine.

“You used cocaine. I just don’t understand,” Reed said.

The judge pressed her on the name of the person who supplied her with cocaine which Spence-Williams repeatedly tried to dodge the question. Reed made it very clear he wanted a name, and she said she only knew the woman by a nickname.

The robbery at Walmart occurred April 13 when Spence-Williams and another woman entered the store on Allentown Road. She tried to conceal some items and walk out but a store employee tried to stop her. Spence-Williams shoved the employee to try to get away, attorneys said.

Just prior to sentencing, Spence-Williams asked the judge if she could delay going to prison long enough to make arrangements for her four children and her home. The judge denied the request saying she should have made those arrangements ahead of time.

Spence-Williams was convicted of forgery and theft charges last year in connection with a day-care fraud scheme that cost tax payers more than $170,000. The principal payer in the scheme was Nekosha James-Mitchell, who was the only woman at the time involved in the scam to go to prison.

James-Mitchell operated two home-based day care centers in Lima, but evidence at her trial showed she was fraudulently reporting numerous children at the centers who weren’t there so she could receive money from the state, often by using women to falsely report they had children at one of her two centers.