Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welfare Queens

The Dayton Daily News has the story of the local woman who is going to jail for deliberately cheating welfare while her husband worked a job paying $100k a year and while they lived in a house on a golf course.  This is reporter Lauren Pack's story: 

"A Warren County woman was sentenced to jail this morning, Sept. 13, for cheating the welfare system out of thousands in federal aid.

Teri Rivarde, 47, of the 3000 block of Woodhaven Drive, Franklin, was convicted by a Butler County jury in July of grand theft and two counts of tampering with records, for receiving $14,000 in aid and medical services while her husband was working a $100,000 a year job and the couple was living in a house on a golf course, according to Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper.

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Oney sentenced Rivarde today to six months in the county jail and five years probation. She was ordered to make restitution of about $12,500, with $5,900 already being collected from the defendant.

Rivarde’s jail term was stayed until Monday, Sept. 20. After serving her time, the judge also ordered that she serve 500 hours of community service at Shared Harvest food pantry.  Rivarde moved to Butler County after Hurricane Katrina and received aid to get the family back on its feet. After moving to Warren County, she still represented to officials that she was living in Butler County.

'Her husband had a great job and they had a great house,' Piper said after the trial in July. He added that Rivarde was even seen going out to dinner and paying grooming fees of $125 for her Shih Tzu dog.  Rivarde falsified applications for food stamps and Medicaid, according to trial evidence. A Butler County Job and Family Services case worker discovered the fraud.

Before sentencing, family members spoke on Rivarde’s behalf. She also apologized and asked that Oney not take her away from her family.  Rivarde completed forms multiple times, knowing she had income and knowing that she had left Butler County, according to prosecutors.

'It was egregious greed.'  said Assistant Prosecutor Susan Schultz. She added Rivarde took from people who were in need in a time of economic difficulty.  Rivarde faced up to 11 years in prison, but Schultz said she was satisfied with the sentence.  'She will spend some in jail and she will have to pay back to the community from which she stole,' Schultz said." 
Last week, readers of Bad Lawyer know I traveled to Washingotn, D.C. to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.  Driving in from Maryland, we passed the buildings housing Fannie Mae, and a gigantic corporate office palace for the Bank of America, and the old cynical me thought, "Welfare Queens."
I wonder how many tax payer subsidized rounds of golf have been played by the executives of the BoA, and Fannie?  How much did the partners at Jones & Day which has offices snuggling up against the U.S. Senate knock down while lobbying for tax breaks for their corporate masters?  We know what attorney/trustee Irving Picard, the partner at Baker & Hostettler expects to be paid (hell, he wants $28 million just for expenses) for a few months work on the bankruptcy of the Madoff Securities scheme.  I wonder what kind of hotel accommodations, he and his lawyers arrange for their travel and comfort on the tax payers' dime?  Golf anyone? 

I know that this is the negative and cynical Bad Lawyer sounding off, but society's real welfare queens have marble hallways, silver table settings, and crystal chandeliers.  Dayton's Teri Rivarde, who most assuredly committed a crime, was a piker compared to the Welfare Queens who live large in the corporate and big law offices of our beautiful land.

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