Police in Australia have closed almost 200 daycare centers after finding the private businesses were linked to the Islamic State, motorcycle gangs, and large-scale fraud.
The Daily Mail reports daycares located in the suburbs of southwest Sydney were the worst offenders with 114 private facilities closed by authorities.
Police also shut down 49 facilities in the Canterbury-Bankstown region, another 25 in Liverpool, 23 in Fairfield and 17 in Auburn.
Law enforcement officials even intercepted the director of one of the daycare centers at the Sydney airport, who was allegedly on his way to fight for the Islamic State.
Hussain Dandachi, 28, was arrested after a police investigation pointed to his involvement in a $27 million fraud syndicate with the money being funneled to the Islamic State.
He pleaded guilty to doctoring fake invoices in the amount of more than $100,000 for children who were not in his daycare. He received a sentence of 10 months in jail, according to The Daily Mail.
Another family day care was being operated in a house with no electricity, while another address led detectives to an abandoned garage, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Some 150 parents are also being investigated to determine if the parents sold their child’s information to any of the accused.
One source described a license to run a daycare center as a virtual “license to print money.”
Since they no longer will be paying for fraudulent applications for children at the facilities, the Australian government expects to save more than $674 million as a result of the investigation.