DOCUMENT: Crime

Jackson Accuser's Mom Hit With Fraud Rap

Prosecutors: Woman repeatedly lied to secure welfare handouts

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Jackson Accuser's Mom Hit With Fraud Rap

AUGUST 23--The mother of the Los Angeles boy who accused Michael Jackson of sexual molestation was charged today with welfare fraud and perjury. The five-count felony indictment charges Janet Arvizo with a single fraud count and four instances of lying to secure nearly $19,000 in welfare payments to which she was not entitled, according to the below court filing. Arvizo, 37, who is scheduled for an September 7 Superior Court arraignment, is pictured at right in a mug shot from a 1998 arrest. During her testimony at the Jackson trial, Arvizo cited the Fifth Amendment in refusing to answer questions about how she succeeded in obtaining welfare payments while having more than $30,000 in the bank. During the defense case, a Jackson lawyer walked a California Department of Social Services representative through Arvizo's welfare applications, pointing out how she repeatedly failed to disclose, as required by law, assets and financial assistance she was receiving. Among many devastating brickbats tossed at Arvizo during the Jackson trial, the welfare fraud allegations were particularly damaging since they appeared to be backed by government documents (not to mention that Arvizo refused to address them for fear of incriminating herself). (5 pages)