By Nigel Boys
A man and his wife are having legal troubles after sending their child to school in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The couple, who actually lived in Philadelphia, have admitted to the charges against them and accepted a plea deal to pay back the money to the county.
The couple, Hamlet and Olesia Garcia, became national celebrities after word of the case broke out and they were facing charges of theft of taxpayers’ money which could have led to imprisonment of up to seven years, if they were found guilty.
However, the charges were dismissed after Mr. Garcia pleaded guilty to the charges of illegally sending his 5-year-old daughter to Pine Hill Elementary School, Lower Moreland. He also pleaded guilty to providing false information to the school when he enrolled his daughter there.
Montgomery County Court Judge, Garrett D. Page, had told the prosecution and defense that they should come up with a mutual understanding to prevent the Garcia’s having to serve time in jail. They did just that, and now the Garcia’s will have to pay back about $11,000 to the school district.
Hamlet Garcia, 42, told the judge that he only wanted the best education for his daughter and they had sent her to school in Lower Moreland while they were sorting out family problems between himself and his wife in Philadelphia.
However, Judge Page told Garcia that he could understand why they would want a better school for their daughter, but it was wrong of them to “rip off the taxpayers in Lower Moreland.”
Steven Latzer, prosecutor for Montgomery County said that he was delighted with the result of the case. He added that justice had been served when Mr. Garcia admitted that he had done wrong and the matter is now closed, as far as he was concerned.
After the hearing, the repentant father said that although he was disappointed about how the case went, because he still thinks that he did nothing wrong, he decided to plead guilty to avoid further consequences.
Hamlet Garcia went on to say if a parent is trying to get a better education for their child “No family should face seven years in jail, not even one day in jail.” He added “It’s been a difficult time for me and for my family, but I have a lot of trust in my attorneys and I have a lot of trust in the justice system.”