DA says estranged in-law reported school fraud

A North­east Phil­adelphia couple ac­cused of falsi­fy­ing their res­id­ency to en­roll their daugh­ter at a sub­urb­an pub­lic school may have been feud­ing with a re­l­at­ive who ul­ti­mately re­por­ted the al­leged fraud to au­thor­it­ies.

In a March 1 fil­ing in Mont­gomery County Com­mon Pleas Court, pro­sec­utors claimed that Ham­let Gar­cia sent an e-mail to his wife’s step­moth­er on March 2, 2012, in which Gar­cia threatened to re­port the step­moth­er to au­thor­it­ies for child ab­use. Gar­cia claimed the step­moth­er ab­used his wife, Olesia, psy­cho­lo­gic­ally and phys­ic­ally when she was a child.

Three days after Ham­let Gar­cia al­legedly sent that e-mail, the step­moth­er — Vic­tor­ia Kar­lova — told of­fi­cials at Pine Road Ele­ment­ary School in Lower Mo­re­land Town­ship that she had re­ceived mail from the school ad­dressed to the Gar­cias, al­though neither the Gar­cias, nor their kinder­garten-aged daugh­ter lived with Kar­lova in her Lower Mo­re­land home.

In last week’s court fil­ing, the Mont­gomery County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice asked to have the e-mail and oth­er doc­u­ments ad­mit­ted as evid­ence in the case. The Gar­cias are charged with theft of ser­vices and con­spir­acy for al­legedly steal­ing $10,752.81 in edu­ca­tion ser­vices from the Lower Mo­re­land School Dis­trict. A tri­al date has not been set. The Gar­cias re­main free on bail.

“Prob­lems and dis­agree­ments between adults are com­mon, but it’s how you handle them that mat­ters,” Ham­let Gar­cia wrote to Kar­lova in the March 1, 2012, e-mail. “When the adults try to cause harm to a child or to their edu­ca­tion by play­ing evil games, then the prob­lem is big­ger and the con­sequences of your ac­tions are great­er.”

Later in the e-mail, Ham­let wrote: “This is a ser­i­ous warn­ing keep peace between the two fam­il­ies [sic]. Keep the verbal agree­ment we had between you and I, you keep the peace on your side and I will keep the peace on mine.”

Pro­sec­utors be­lieve that the Gar­cias sup­plied Kar­lova’s ad­dress to Pine Road School when they en­rolled their daugh­ter pri­or to the 2011-12 aca­dem­ic year. The Gar­cias have owned a home in the North­east’s Somer­ton sec­tion, less than a mile from the school, for years, but sub­sequently claimed that Olesia Gar­cia was sep­ar­ated from Ham­let and liv­ing with her own fath­er and Kar­lova for most of that aca­dem­ic year when their daugh­ter at­ten­ded Pine Road School.

The at­tor­ney rep­res­ent­ing the Gar­cias, Thomas Kenny, said on Tues­day he had not re­viewed the latest court fil­ing and de­clined com­ment.

Also in the court fil­ing, pro­sec­utors al­leged that the Gar­cias con­tra­dicted their pur­por­ted sep­ar­a­tion by their sworn state­ments in an un­re­lated civil case.

On Jan. 30, 2012, the Gar­cias sued SEPTA for dam­ages res­ult­ing from an auto ac­ci­dent in­volving Olesia Gar­cia and the couple’s daugh­ter at SEPTA’s Philmont sta­tion. In the law­suit, the Gar­cias claimed that Olesia and their daugh­ter lived in the fam­ily’s Somer­ton home and saw Ham­let Gar­cia every day. The couple fur­ther stated that they did not ar­gue. Those as­ser­tions seem to con­tra­dict their later claims of sep­ar­a­tion.

Fur­ther, Ham­let and Olesia Gar­cia, along with their daugh­ter, traveled to­geth­er to Punta Cana, Domin­ic­an Re­pub­lic, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8, 2011, on what pro­sec­utors de­scribed as a “weeklong trop­ic­al va­ca­tion.” Air­line and pass­port re­cords con­firmed the over­seas trip, which oc­curred at the same time that the Gar­cias later claimed they were sep­ar­ated, pro­sec­utors stated in the court fil­ing. ••

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or wkenny@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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