HARTFORD — When Precious Cargo Daycare abruptly closed its doors in June 2012, parents were left to scramble for alternative childcare and with questions about their deposits.
Under a settlement filed in Superior Court last week, state officials said Precious Cargo will provide full consumer refunds to parents who lost deposits and prepaid tuition payments and has resolved outstanding tax liability to the state, Attorney General George Jepsen, Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein and Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin B. Sullivan announced on Monday.
Under the settlement, Precious Cargo and its owners will pay a total of $55,000 for consumer restitution, of which $30,000 has already been remitted to the state. The remaining $25,000 will be paid over two years.
Additionally, the defendants have paid $159,818 to the Department of Revenue Services to resolve outstanding claimed wage withholding tax liability to the state.
“My office received dozens of complaints when this daycare center shut down last summer with little warning,” Jepsen said. “While some consumers were able to get money back through their credit card companies, other parents – many of whom paid by cash or check – were left in the lurch for their prepaid services. This settlement provides for full refunds for those parents, and I’m very pleased we were able to reach this resolution.”
“Searching for quality child care at the last minute is troublesome enough for hard-working parents, but losing money on top of that was salt in the wound,” Commissioner Rubenstein said. “We are happy that our cooperative efforts served to ease the financial loss to the parents affected by this sudden closure.”
Restitution will be distributed to consumers in two installments. Eligible consumers have been identified by the state and will be receiving a claim form with a cover letter explaining payment structure and requesting verification of the amount owed. Consumers who already received chargebacks through their credit card company are not eligible for additional restitution through this settlement.
Per the settlement, Precious Cargo’s owners – Jacqueline DiFusco, Jake Giuliano, Kristine DeCarlo and John Giuliano – are enjoined from owning, operating or participating in the management or marketing of a daycare facility for five years. Additionally, they are prohibited from owning or operating a business where their names do not appear in the business’s trade name for five years.
The settlement is not considered final until approved by the court. Consumers will questions about this settlement can contact the Office of the Attorney General at 860-808-5400 or the Department of Consumer Protection at 800-842-2649.