11 October 2006

Fresh from the WTF file: Exposing a fraud

"Deadbeat dad" is already part of our vocabulary. But look how far one woman went:
Viola Trevino is a walking-talking explanation of why the family court and child welfare systems across North America are widely accused of being part of the problem, not part of the solution, in resolving custody issues and protecting children.

The Trevino case spun out in New Mexico, but there is nothing unique about the laws or procedures of that state.

Trevino's fraud began in 1999 when she and her former husband Steve Barreras divorced. Trevino claimed she had given birth to a child after the divorce and sued Barreras for child support, claiming he was the father. This fraud dissolved in 2004, when it was finally discovered that there was no such child. But Barreras, who works as a corrections officer in law enforcement, was forced to spend the ensuing years trying to make the New Mexico courts and child welfare service even look at evidence that the child for whom he was paying support did not exist.

More than $20,000 in payments later, a judge finally did the obvious. Trevino was ordered to produce the disputed child, then supposedly 5-years-old. On her way to the court appearance, Trevino snatched a 2-year-old off the street to pass off as her own daughter; the ruse collapsed when the infant's distraught grandmother trailed Trevino into the courtroom.

There's much more. Read the full story here.

Post a Comment