Los Angeles County prosecutors today filed five felony charges of welfare fraud and perjury against the mother of Michael Jackson’s teenage accuser, the woman whose credibility was at the center of the pop star’s acquittal on child molestation charges.
Prosecutors allege that Janet Arvizo received more than $18,000 in welfare benefits illegally by failing to disclose that she and her family had received thousands of dollars in the settlement of a civil lawsuit.
Arvizo today declined to comment on the charges, according to a young man who answered the door at her Los Alamitos home.
A Santa Barbara County jury acquitted Jackson of child molestation charges in June, saying that part of the reason was that they distrusted the boy’s mother.
The welfare fraud investigation forced the woman to invoke her 5th Amendment protection against self incrimination before she answered any questions on that topic.
Los Angeles County prosecutors began the investigation of Arvizo after a lawyer working for Jackson forwarded evidence of the alleged fraud. Now, Jackson is free and the mother of his accuser is facing a possible prison sentence.
“The truth has been revealed that she is the individual who should be prosecuted,” said Carl A. “Tony” Capozzola, the Jackson lawyer who called on Los Angeles prosecutors to investigate the mother.