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Jackson accuser mom has fraud charge reduced

A charge of felony welfare fraud against the mother of the boy who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse was reduced on Wednesday to a misdemeanor and is eventually expected to be expunged, her lawyer said.
/ Source: Reuters

A charge of felony welfare fraud against the mother of the boy who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse was reduced on Wednesday to a misdemeanor and is eventually expected to be expunged, her lawyer said.

The woman, who was not identified during the 2005 Jackson trial to protect the identity of her son, pleaded no contest last November to receiving fraudulent welfare payments. No contest is the equivalent of a guilty plea under California law.

The mother’s credibility and reputation were attacked by Jackson’s defense team during the trial, which ended in the pop star’s acquittal in June 2005 on all charges of child molestation.

Her lawyer, Rayford Fountain, said on Wednesday she had paid more than $8,600 in restitution and completed more than 150 hours of community service.

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Investigators initially alleged she fraudulently received nearly $18,800 in welfare payments by failing to disclose money received from an insurance settlement but the amount was later lowered to about $8,000.

Fountain asked the judge to place the woman on informal probation for 30 days to allow her to pay a court fine and said he would then ask for the charge to be dismissed and expunged.

The woman has moved out of state since the end of the trial and was not in court for Wednesday’s hearing.