OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Several families in the Omaha area are reporting the operator of one in-home day care, left them high and dry.
The parents say the daycare provider they trusted took their money and scammed them for hundreds of dollars.
3 News Now spoke with seven families who all share similar experiences with Lindsey's Home Daycare located at 59th and Radial Highway in Benson.
Sarah Kisicki connected with Lindsey's Home Daycare through a Facebook group advertising local in-home daycares. The location and budget prices made the daycare ideal for Kisicki and her two-year-old daughter.
"The house is in the Benson area. It's kind of an interesting area. But the house itself was fine," said Sarah Kisicki. "She showed me their play area and where they eat. And told me their daily schedules and curriculum. The way she teaches and stuff. It just seems to fit."
Initially, Kisicki says, her experience at the daycare was positive. Then came a request not part of the childcare agreement: to pay for several weeks of care up front.
Kisicki says she paid close to four hundred dollars out of pocket.
"Something is happening, said Kisicki. "We are getting scammed"
Kisicki is among at least five families who were all asked by childcare provider, Lindsey Williamson, to pre-pay for several weeks of childcare. One of those parents included Amanda Schatz.
"She sent me a text message asking if I would pay her for the full month of February. This was early February. If I would pay her for the full month of February. That wasn't part of our original agreement," said Schnatz.
"I thought that was a little weird. So, I said I'm not going to pay you for a month in advance, but I will give you two weeks in advance. She said that was fine."
The parents say Lindsey WIlliamson told them her daughter was sick with the flu for the week. They were given the OK by Williamson to drop their children off to her daycare the following Monday.
When the parents showed up Monday morning to drop off their children, they arrived to a dark and empty house.
"I am knocking and waiting for an answer at the door. Nobody is coming. So I go around and peek in the window and all of her furniture is gone," said Amanda Schnatz.
"I called my husband was like, 'hey, I think Lindsey skipped town. She's not here,'" said Schnatz. "And of course, I sent Lindsey a text message saying 'hey were here and I am a little confused.' And she didn't respond at all."
Lindsey's Home Daycare in Benson closed in early February with no warning. Many of the families said they never received a refund for hundreds of dollars paid. They were then forced to find alternate childcare.
"Oh, it was a total shock. Total shock."
In total, seven families who spoke with 3 News Now say they were never told the daycare was closing.
One parent filed a police report for theft.
Other parents - contacted the Department of Health and Human Services — concerned Williamson had been violating protocol for watching too many children with no license. DHHS documents show Lindsey Williamson was unable to pass a background check for a childcare license.
Meanwhile - the parents say Williamson went silent and blocked their phone calls.
"I knew when it all started - was like ok - I am being ghosted. She had blocked me on Instagram and she had blocked me on Facebook," said Kisicki.
Eventually, Williamson told many of the families it was within her right to cancel contracts.
But weeks later, after re-locating to Millard, Williamson was already advertising her childcare services at her new location.
Williamson declined an on-camera interview with 3 News Now. She says she still plans to pay back the money she owes to families from her February daycare closure.
"If you have the money to buy a new home. You have the money to pay us back, said Kisicki.
"In the back of my hopeful mind, I'm like maybe she'll have some income so can pay people back now," said Shnatz.
Schnatz was refunded by Paypal after she reported Lindsey's Home Daycare to her bank for fraud.
Other families still haven't received a refund. Yet others, say Williamson still has their property which she's never returned.
According to DHHS, Williamson can legally operate an in-home daycare unlicensed with three children or less.