Tabloid-addicted Media Bash Jackson, Downplay Fraud Case? – MB#308

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Tabloid-addicted Media Bash Jackson, Downplay Fraud Case? – MB#308 The testimony of Mercy Dee Manrriquez and signed documents prove Arvizo committed welfare fraud and perjuy MAY 21 2006 – Janet Arvizo is set to stand trial on felony charges of welfare fraud and perjury. Arvizo, the mother of the kid who made false allegations of molestation against Michael Jackson, is claiming she isn’t guilty of committing the crimes as charged. Jackson was acquitted of all charges by the conservative Santa Maria jury almost a year ago. Arvizo appeared at a court hearing Friday (May 19 2006), waived her right to a preliminary hearing, and is set for arraignment on June 21 2006. Coincidentally, her trial is about two months before the Santa Barbara DA’s office is scheduled to go on trial for allegedly committing various acts of misconduct in an unrelated case. Never one to miss an opportunity to sit around like pitiful, gossipy hens, the ‘usual suspects’ – Jim Moret, Harvey Levin and Diane Dimond — appeared on Nancy (dis)Grace’s show to regurgitate damn near every unfounded or unsubstantiated piece of non-news they could find with the name ‘Jackson’ attached to it. Some have already speculated that Grace’s show – guest hosted by Jane Valez-Mitchell — may have been an attempt to make excuses for, or to get the public’s attention off of, the fact that Arvizo is scheduled for trial for engaging in felonious activities to obtain money. Headed by a trio of know-nothing “reporters” who think that because they covered the Jackson trial — in a half-assed, agenda-filled way — that they somehow know enough about him to offer up psychoanalyses and predictions of his future. To be quite blunt, I don’t think C-List “reporters” like Jim Moret or Diane Dimond personally know a damn thing about Jackson’s current health, full financial picture, mental state, or future plans to the point where they should feel free to sit on anybody’s talk show to discuss such issues. And while “queen bee” Harvey Levin’s defunct Celebrity Justice reported many important aspects of the 2005 trial which were ignored by big media at the time, he, too, took part in pretending like his “sources” were granted to him by God. The reunion class of 2005 were quite selective in what they talked about and what they didn’t talk about on (dis)Grace’s show. For example, there was no discussion of a federal judge throwing out a civil suit against Jackson from accused con-artist Joseph Bartucci (see Judge: Michael Jackson in California when man claimed abuse). Jackson was almost two thousand miles away when Bartucci claimed he was kidnapped, molested and cut by razors when he was 18. And of course there wasn’t a peep about the fact that Tom Sneddon and others are set to go on trial August 2006 to defend against a $10 million lawsuit – upheld in part by a U.S. District Court judge — alleging they engaged in all sorts of misconduct in a failed attempt to convict attorney Gary Dunlap (see Trial date August in suit against DA’s office). I found myself watching this show and thinking about how pitiful this display was. What should have been a segment about the upcoming welfare fraud and perjury charges turned into a rather pathetic bash-and-trash Jackson special complete with at least one nut — guess who — trying to shill for Arvizo. As an example of such nonsense, tabloid reporter Diane Dimond claimed “sources” said the mother chose to go to trial because prosecutors wanted her to sign a document stating that she willfully/maliciously committed fraud and perjury. Arvizo is denying she did it on purpose. According to Dimond, the mother wants to show her kids that you don’t admit to doing things you didn’t do. My first question is where the hell was this noble, upstanding attitude about right and wrong when she was scamming the welfare system? What was she trying to teach her children then? The only thing she’s teaching her kids is how to try to get out of paying for their criminal actions. The issue of Jackson’s finances also became fodder for this crowd. As you’ve read in MJEOL Bullet #307 (New York Times Dissecting Jackson’s Alleged Finances without Full Story) even the New York Times got into the act of trying to tell us, the public, all about Jackson’s financial picture. Are they reporting “news” or are their “sources” exaggerating or flat out lying while using these media outlets in an attempt to handicap any future business deals Jackson may want to pursue with big businesses? After all, who wants to get into business with someone who is alleged to be in severe financial straits? Never mind that there were at least two huge financial companies tripping all over themselves to be involved in the restructuring of his finances! Ignore that! Pay no attention to the fact that Jackson has certainly had his share of shysters, thieves and crooks misappropriating/siphoning/stealing tens of millions of dollars from him over the years. As we’ve all learned from the infamous James Frey, the truth does matter. And it’s in that spirit of finding the truth that this MJEOL Bullet was created. And speaking of James Frey, I think going to Diane Dimond for accurate Michael Jackson news is like reading James Frey’s memoir, A Million Little Pieces, for an accurate depiction of his life. Jackson isn’t a lounge act in Las Vegas — singing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” to put food on the table. Why is that so if he’s been in such a devastating financial situation? Me thinks they doth allege too much. None of what these people said has panned out with regards to his finances. He hasn’t sold Neverland, although the public has been told for years that he either was, or was about to. He hasn’t sold his half of Sony/ATV, although the public has been told that he was months away from having to do so……for the past 5 years at least. At some point, don’t you have to let go of predictions which don’t come to pass? Not according to this crowd. Old obsessions are hard to break. Apparently warmed-over garbage on a platter deserved more on-air time than the upcoming Arvizo fraud trial. Or anything else for that matter. Since the pubic has gotten their bull$hit quota filled for the month, MJEOL will concentrate on Arvizo’s reported misdeeds, starting with the 2005 trial testimony of Mercy Dee Manrriquez __Manrriquez testifies__ Manrriquez was employed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Service (DPSS) when she testified during the 2005 trial. Manrriquez’s department determines the “eligibility for people that are requesting public assistance,” (p 11566 lines 17-18). She was, in fact, one of Arvizo’s “intake” workers, meaning she went over Arvizo’s welfare application with her. Remember, Arvizo reportedly had tens of thousands of dollars from the JC Penney settlement when she was applying for welfare. Since Arvizo was allowed to plead the 5th Amendment against incrimination, Manrriquez was called by the defense to help prove that Arvizo had asked for public assistance and signed documents under penalty of perjury; not bothering to mention that she had a bank account with tens of thousands of dollars in it. Woops! Just what kind of mentality must one have in order to received $32,000, and ten days later, apply for welfare?? Sounds like uncontrollable greed to many observers. Manrriquez was questioned by Jackson attorney Robert Sanger. She provided Arvizo’s subpoenaed records from the Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services. Hence, the reason why Arvizo has been brought up on charges in Los Angeles County. Manrriquez testified to the importance of being able to determine who’s really in need of public assistance to cut down on the incidences of fraud. From her May 23 2005 testimony:

SANGER: And if people come in and do not accurately represent to you their assets or the availability of funds or people to assist them in their living expenses, does that keep you from doing your job properly? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes, it would. SANGER: And if they willfully exclude any of those items I just mentioned, would that amount to fraud? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes, it would. (p 11572 lines 11-19)

Sanger established that because the DPSS does not have the opportunity to independently verify every single thing people tell them, it was imperative that people asking for welfare tell the truth. And to make sure, the forms are signed by the recipients under penalty of perjury. There doesn’t seem to be an issue as to whether or not she signed the original documents for welfare assistance because the signing of such forms was witnessed by a clerk working for DPSS. The clerk also had to sign the document as a witness. As Sanger would later put it, “…the clerk is certifying that Janet Arvizo is signing this on that date” (p. 11591 lines 2-3). Arvizo was receiving “Cal-works” (cash assistance program), and Medi-Cal (medical payment program). The defense displayed these forms and documents during the questioning of Manrriquez. They showed checks made out to Arvizo for $769.00 from their Cal-Works program as late as March 2003. One of the checks was dated for February 15 2003. This is after she and her children were being helped by numerous celebrities. The check was deposited on Feb 24 2003, right during the time they all claimed to be held hostage at Neverland. Woops! Another check showed by the defense was dated March 17 2003. This was either during or after the time the mother is complaining to Azja Pryor that the children were being kept away from Jackson by his associates. From her testimony:

SANGER: With that in mind, so I didn’t have you do it twice, can you tell from your records if it appears that Miss Arvizo was, in fact, receiving welfare checks through March of 2003? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes, through March of 2003. (p 11580 lines 1-5)

Sanger showed documentation in the form of a note from Arvizo asking to discontinue her welfare aid dated March 3 2003:

SANGER:… And it says, “I, Janet Arvizo, chooses to discontinue and be off of the welfare system aid effective today, 3-3. Thank you so much, Janet Arvizo.” (p 11608 lines 15-18)

What happened in March 2003? Did someone else start kicking in money for this family? Perhaps an attorney or other sympathetic party with connections? Or perhaps an entity supporting this family up until they testified at a future Jackson trial based on planned, but yet to be reported, allegations of molestation at the time? No doubt, many have been suspicious of this family and some have wondered if someone set up financial support for them through various means. But Sanger continued his search for fraud by asking Manrriquez specifically about the “Statement of Facts” signed by Arvizo. It is used to help determine the eligibility for public assistance. At the bottom of the document, there is a certification clearly indicating that such a document is signed under penalty of perjury. More from her testimony:

SANGER: All right. Is this Statement of Facts the statement that you printed out after interviewing Janet Arvizo? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. SANGER: Was she asked to review it carefully and sign it if it was correct? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. SANGER: And at the end of this document, there is a certification; is that correct? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. SANGER: And down at the bottom — let’s see if we can — I’ll leave it there. It says, in bold print, “I declare, under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America and the State of California, that the information in this Statement of Facts is true, correct and complete.” Is that right? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes, it is. SANGER: And then you see what appears to be a signature there. And that would be the signature of the applicant in this case, Janet Arvizo; is that correct? MANRRIQUEZ: That’s correct. SANGER: And the date 11-15-01, correct? MANRRIQUEZ: Correct. (p 11582 lines 18-28, p 11583 lines 1-14)

This establishes info she gave to the welfare department about her being impoverished and in need of assistance when she may not have deserved it. Then Sanger got into specific questions answered by Arvizo on those forms. Question #47 on the “Statement of Facts” asked, “Does anyone including children have any personal or business-related resources?” To that question, Arvizo answered “No.” Sanger then asked Manrriquez if the mother told the department that she had received over $30,000 a mere 10 days before filling out those welfare papers. More from the testimony:

SANGER: Miss Arvizo did not disclose to you on November 15, 2001, that on November 5, 2001, she personally had received $32,308, did she? MANRRIQUEZ: No, she did not. SANGER: If she had disclosed that, would that have resulted in a different answer to that question? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. (p 11584 lines 16-22)

Sanger continued to ask questions about money the Arvizo children had received as part of that JC Penney settlement as well. Continued:

SANGER: Now, it says, “Children.” Did Miss Arvizo advise you at that time that her children had also received — one of them had received $25,000 on that same date? MANRRIQUEZ: No. SANGER: The other child had received, I believe it was, in excess of 10,000, off the top of my head. I don’t remember. But did she disclose anything like that? MANRRIQUEZ: No, she did not. … SANGER: If she had disclosed that, would that have been a material fact that you would have wanted to know in evaluating whether or not she was eligible for welfare? MANRRIQUEZ: That would have been something we needed to know. (p 11584 lines 23-28, p 11585 lines 1-4, 8-13)

Yeah, no kidding it would have been something they needed to know. Was this the sign of someone who is greedy beyond belief and would break the law to get as much money as she possibly could? Or did it simply slip her mind that she had received over $32,000, and her children received approx. $35,000 between them from JC Penney? I wouldn’t be surprised if she claims her ex-husband forced her to apply for welfare and continue to accept it long after she got his parental rights terminated. Anyway, Manrriquez also testified that no matter how long ago or how recent a person receives funds of this magnitude they have to share that fact with the department. “As long as the participant has the reason they need to put it in no matter what the date is as to when they received it,” she told the jury (p. 11585 lines 20-22). It is the obligation of the person receiving the money to report their financial info on monthly or quarterly eligibility reports. Again, Sanger gets specific by citing questions on Arvizo’s welfare form which she apparently lied about. Question #48 “Does anyone get or expect to get money from any of the above resources, such as interest, dividends, et cetera?” To which, Arvizo answered “No.” So Sanger asked Manrriquez:

SANGER: …If somebody had — let’s take the children. If one of the children, say, had $25,000 in a bank account that was earning interest, would it be necessary to disclose that under Question 48? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes, it would be necessary. SANGER: And again, the answer there is “No”; is that correct? MANRRIQUEZ: That’s correct. (p 11586 lines 2-9)

Sanger continued to prove in court that Arvizo had in fact committed welfare fraud and perjury by furnishing the department with false information. He next directed the jury’s attention to Question #53 which dealt specifically with court and insurance settlements like the one she received from JC Penney 10 days before applying for welfare. More from the testimony:

SANGER: …I’m going to direct your attention to Question No. 53. Now, that one says, if I may read it, “Has anyone received money from insurance or court settlements, inheritance, lottery or back pay in the last three years (36 months)?” Do you see that? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes, I do. SANGER: And the “anyone” would be the applicant or the children of the applicant; is that correct? MANRRIQUEZ: Correct. SANGER: Did Mrs. Arvizo disclose to you that she had just received a settlement, a court settlement, of $152,000, less attorney’s fees and costs? MANRRIQUEZ: No. SANGER: Would that have been a material consideration on your part in determining her eligibility? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. (p 11586 lines 14-28 p 11587 lines 1-4)

He then used the f-word: fraud. Continued from the testimony:

SANGER: And if she, in fact, had received such a settlement, would that be fraud, to fail to disclose it on this form? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes, it would be. (p 11587 lines 5-8)

In no uncertain terms, it is in fact fraud not to report such info to DPSS. Oddly enough, Arvizo is claiming she didn’t do any of this with the intent to willfully defraud the system out of thousands of dollars. Yeah, right. As it turns out, Arvizo also lied about having medical insurance for her son and hid the fact that she was, at one point, living rent free while telling the agency that she had to pay over $400 a month in rent. He asked:

SANGER: So if she, in fact, had health insurance, comprehensive health insurance for her children under Kaiser, would that be a false answer? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes, that would be false. SANGER: And that would also be fraud, would it not? MANRRIQUEZ: Correct. (p 11587 lines 23-28)


SANGER: Let me put it this way: If a person presenting a rent receipt like that in fact had been given free rent for a period of time by her landlord, is that something that should have been reported to you? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. SANGER: And if, in fact, in 2003, in January and February, somebody else was paying that rent, that $425 a month, is that something that should have been reported to the department? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. (p 11617 lines 22-28, p 11618 lines 1-4)

The public has already learned from interviews with the accuser’s father, David Arvizo, that his Teamster insurance covered Gavin Arvizo’s medical bills. Manrriquez confirmed that this would have affected her eligibility. And the info about the free rent came as a surprise to some court observers as well. It too would have affected her eligibility for welfare. On top of this, the defense found out the family received about $600 one Christmas during the time she was receiving welfare. Nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that such funds should be reported to DPSS, and was not. Boy did she work the system to her advantage! The only problem is that it’s illegal to lie under penalty of perjury. It is information like this which causes many to scratch their heads as to why Arvizo hasn’t plead guilty with regards to the charges she is now facing. Could her ‘not guilty’ plea reflect the fact that she doesn’t want to walk into a possible future civil lawsuit against Jackson as a convicted felon? And a felon convicted of breaking the law to get money from people, no less? That seems like a more plausible reason than the ridiculous excuse spread by Dimond on Nancy (dis)Grace’s May 19 show. And just to make it clear to the jury, Sanger went through all possible sources of funding which would require her to notify DPSS including legal settlement, cash, gifts, checks, loans, free rent, etc. One also must report the fact that they have moved in with someone else – part time or full time – to DPSS. The jury learned from trial testimony that the Arvizos were living with Major Jay Jackson during the time she was receiving welfare. Sanger also revealed a few bombshells about how Arvizo was processing her welfare checks. From the testimony:

SANGER: …If a person were residing — a welfare applicant or participant were residing with her boyfriend in his apartment, is that something that should have been reported to the welfare department before accepting checks? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. SANGER: If that person, in this case Janet Arvizo, were in fact depositing her welfare checks into her boyfriend’s bank account, is that something that should have been reported? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. SANGER: If the boyfriend were a major in the United States Army, with a base pay, exclusive of allowances, a base pay of over $5,000, is that something that should have been reported to the welfare department? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. SANGER: If the boyfriend, the major in the United States Army, were, in fact, paying expenses for Janet Arvizo, is that something that should be reported? MANRRIQUEZ: Yes. SANGER: Would each of those factors have an impact on the eligibility of that person to receive welfare? SANGER: Yes. (p 11610 lines 7-8, p 11611 lines 1-4)

Some observers say given such information, it will be difficult for her to sell the theory that she’s an innocent, poor, upstanding citizen who made a mistake, especially given the fact that she had to fill out monthly, then quarterly, updates about her current situation with the DPSS. Arvizo also told the first intake worker that she didn’t have a car. As the jury found out in court, Jackson had given the family a vehicle to use which she also didn’t report to DPSS. Manrriquez confirmed that this information could have affected her eligibility. As it turns out, Arvizo was on disability as well before getting her JC Penney settlement. According to the court, she received “$104 a week for disability” (p 11596 line 20). So, she was on disability, received welfare and food stamps, received over $32,000 from the JC Penney settlement, received donations from readers of the Mid Valley News, and lord knows how much money in donations from celebrities came rolling in for medical bills which didn’t exist. It is details like this which got purposely pushed aside by those four cackling know-nothings on (dis)Grace’s May 19 show. __News is in the eye of the reporter__ They preferred speculation based on unsubstantiated rumor; some of which has been proven to be totally untrue or sensationalized beyond belief. And none of them have revealed their ghostly “sources”. Probably afraid they may get their bubbles burst if one or more of their collective “sources” is proven to be furnishing them with inaccurate or incomplete information. Some who know Dimond’s history certainly wouldn’t blindly trust any “sources” of hers because of that now infamous Victor Gutierrez incident which resulted in Jackson winning a multi-million dollar slander lawsuit against him (Michael Jackson’s Victory). Any lame attempts by lame-brained pundits to excuse this behavior – or use this as a fair vs unfair argument – would be utterly ridiculous. While Jackson’s name was being used…again…to draw interest, none of the illustrious guests on the show could bring themselves to discuss a number of other non-sensational facts. After all, who cares that a molestation lawsuit against Jackson was thrown out of court last month, or that the two knuckleheads — who secretly recorded Jackson and Mark Geragos during a 2003 flight from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara county — pled guilty in federal court? Let’s not pay any attention to the fact that Jackson is counter-suing Marc Schaffel for concealing and misappropriating over a million dollars, providing false books of account, misrepresenting himself to get money from a Japanese company, and keeping some $250,000 worth of paintings and sculptures which were supposed to be delivered to Jackson (see Jackson counter-sues former aid). Why wasn’t Dimond dishing about her own legal run-in with Jackson fan B.J. Hickman? Dimond accused him of verbal harassment, Hickman denied the allegations, and later demanded she pay his legal fees for having to fight the disputed charges. Dimond dropped her allegation and settled the matter with Hickman ( Restraining order is dismissed). And I’m still waiting on one or more of them to do any type of indepth reporting about the $10M Gary Dunlap lawsuit against Sneddon and the Santa Barbara DA’s office scheduled for trial August 7 2006 as last reported. I guess they all were too busy alleging that Jackson is alcohol addicted and out of control (Dimond), or that he’ll never perform again (Levin), or that he hasn’t met any of his financial obligations (Moret). I suppose something has to be done to take attention off of the screaming headline “Mother of Jackson’s Accuser to Stand Trial”. Let’s see if 2,000 reporters from around the world show up to cover that trial. Don’t hold your breath. -MJEOL

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