Minnesota couple behind Hannah's Law accused of public assistance fraud

A Minnesota couple stands accused of public assistance fraud three years after their young daughter’s choking death spurred a new state law requiring day care teachers to know CPR.

Justin and Jennifer Kozitza stood next to Gov. Mark Dayton in 2011 when he signed legislation creating Hannah’s Law. Their 4-year-old daughter choked on a grape at a day care center. An investigation revealed shortcomings in safety training requirements for day care staffers.

Last week the Kozitzas were charged with applying for public assistance they were not entitled to and collecting $2,332 for four months, from November 2013 to February 2014, the Mankato Free Press reported Thursday.

The paper said the couple failed to disclose numerous assets on their application for assistance from  Nicollet County Social Services, including a nearly $1 million settlement in a lawsuit stemming from their daughter’s death.

The only assets they listed in forms were $553 in a checking account, two vehicles and their home in North Mankato.

The Free Press said that during an interview with a fraud investigator Jennifer Kozitza revealed she and her husband had other assets, including a cabin, multiple other vehicles, two snowmobiles and a trailer, as well as other income.

She told the investigator she did not know they were supposed to disclose the settlement and the assets in the forms.

Justin Kozitza is 38. His wife is 31. They were charged with wrongfully obtaining assistance, a felony. The paper said the couple does not have a lawyer yet.