POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Families are having to find new centers to send their children for care following the sudden closure of Angels on Earth PPEC.

Families received a text message last week saying “we are a family business and due to a sudden family emergency we made the difficult decision to suspend operations temporarily.”

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office announced Wednesday that an administrator within the company was arrested on one count of Medicaid provider fraud, a first-degree felony.

Heather Walker, of Plant City, is the mother of a 5-year-old named Howard.

She says he requires specialized care.

“High functioning autism, ADHD, aggressive behavior and epilepsy and asthma,” she said about her son’s conditions.

Walker said she enrolled Howard at Angels On Earth PPEC in north Lakeland last spring.

It’s an Orlando-based daycare system with skilled nursing services for children with special needs.

Walker pulled him out in mid-January after being unsatisfied with his care.

She says Angels on Earth kept billing her insurance for transportation.

“He didn’t go for all of February and the dots are all the scheduled rides for Angels on Earth,” she said, pointing to an app on her phone that shows booked rides from her home to the Haines City location, which her son never attended.

The app also shows rides booked for Saturday services, even though her son never attended on Saturdays, according to Walker.

“We trusted Angels on Earth and they really let us down,” she said.

According to an arrest affidavit filed by the AG’s office, 69% of Angels on Earth’s Medicaid claims for Saturday service were fraudulent from July 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021.

Other clients showed investigators instances where their insurance was billed for transportation that did not occur.

This week, the AG’s office announced the arrest of Carlos Cabrera, of Orlando, an administrator who is alleged to be in charge of Medicaid billing for the company and is the husband of one of the company’s co-owners, according to the affidavit.

Angels on Earth was approved as a Medicaid provider in Feb. 2019.

The investigation began in March 2022 following an anonymous complaint.

According to the AG’s office, 34% of the company’s Medicaid claims were fraudulent, totaling more than $400,000.

Cabrera billed a nearly 100% attendance rate to get the maximum payment per patient despite knowing that not everyone attended every day, the AG’s office said.

“This defendant used vulnerable children and their families for his own financial gain by overbilling and stealing from a taxpayer-funded program. My Medicaid Fraud Control Unit uncovered this devious scheme and will now ensure this defendant faces justice,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody in a statement.

Calls to Angels on Earth PPEC were directed to an answering service Thursday. News Channel 8 did not receive any calls back.

Cabrera is out on a $10,000 bond, according to Orange County court records.

Calls to his cell phone went directly to voicemail.

On Thursday, a representative from AHCA, the Agency for Health Care Administration, visited the site.

She told News Channel 8 she was there to make sure the location is closed.

Angels on Earth PPEC operates four locations in Lakeland, Haines City, Orlando and Melbourne. All four are believed to be closed.

“We depended on Angels on Earth to be there for us and then all of a sudden they just shut their doors and it’s just kind of like they left all their children out, just, I feel bad. That’s all I can say. I feel really, really bad for the parents,” said Walker.