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 firstname.lastname@example.org