The Hamptons Police this week swooped in and arrested more than 40 individuals, charging each suspect with illegal actions designed to rig the results of admissions into prestigious local daycare centers and preschools.
“The offenses we’ve detailed in our report run the gamut,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch says. “From simple bribery to the elaborate faking of potty training records, this is a conspiracy that challenges the very notion of fairness in daycare admissions.”
After what they say was a nearly two-year investigation, the Hamptons Police charged Nicholas Lugner, a well-known local daycare admissions counselor, with a variety of crimes pertaining to the falsification of daycare application materials for his clients.
“For the right price, Lugner could make your baby look like the next Dalai Lama, at least on paper,” Hirsch says. The parents who engaged Lugner’s services were “almost certainly in on the schemes,” he adds, and were also arrested and charged.
The daycare centers and preschools targeted included the exclusive Dunes School in Napeague and Woodland Hills in Northwest Woods. Spokespeople for both schools denied the schools had any knowledge of the alleged fraud.
Hirsch detailed several especially egregious falsifications allegedly perpetrated by Lugner and his clients. In one case, police say, Lugner created a fake video in which a one-year-old applicant to a highly selective local preschool appears to be performing elaborate gymnastic routines. In another faked video, a toddler appears to be reciting Shakespearean poetry. A third video shows a set of nine-month-old triplets all strumming ukuleles and singing “Guantanamera” in three-part harmony.
“These were blatant and obvious frauds,” notes Hirsch, “but in the world of high-stakes daycare and preschool admissions, people will obviously do anything to set their children apart.”
In the days since the arrest, Hirsch says the police have received a torrent of calls demanding that they investigate further. “Many people seem to think that the daycare centers and preschools must have been in on this,” he explains. “And it does seem pretty obvious. After all, if you admit to your daycare a set of nine-month-old triplets thinking that they have all learned how to play the ukulele and harmonize in Spanish, and it turns out that they haven’t even begun to speak yet, beyond ‘mama’ and ‘dada,’ maybe you’d get a little suspicious. We’re pretty suspicious, I can tell you that!”
Despite admitting to these suspicions, Hirsch did not disclose whether the police are continuing to investigate the matter. “We will keep the public updated regarding any further developments,” Hirsch says. “And anyone with any information should not hesitate to contact us.”