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School Board Trustee Ordered to Stand Trial

October 09, 2003|Erika Hayasaki | Times Staff Writer

Inglewood school board trustee Cresia Green-Davis was ordered Wednesday to stand trial in two separate cases -- one alleging that she had fraudulently received $36,000 in welfare aid and another charging that she had lied about her academic background when applying for teaching positions.

Green-Davis, 51, a former president of the school board, faces one count of welfare fraud and seven counts of perjury for allegedly providing false information about her income and assets on welfare applications. In the second case, she faces two counts of grand theft for allegedly collecting a salary after lying on job applications.

During a preliminary hearing in the welfare fraud case, which began Tuesday, a prosector presented W-2 forms, financial statements and insurance policies to support allegations that, between November 1995 and April 2001, Green-Davis was earning too much money to qualify for food stamps, Medi-Cal and other welfare aid.

Winston McKesson, who is representing Green-Davis in both cases, said she had meant no harm, and had only been trying to support her family.

"My feeling is, this is being pushed behind the scenes by her political enemies," McKesson said. Green-Davis was not a "welfare queen," he said, but instead was living under the poverty level and "was doing everything she could to make sure her sons were raised properly."

But Alfred Coletta, the prosecuting attorney in the welfare case, said the evidence of fraud "is overwhelming." He added that there was no basis to withhold information about her employment and income from the government unless "it's with the intent of hiding it."

During a separate preliminary hearing in the second case, which began Wednesday, a prosecutor presented evidence including allegedly falsified transcripts stating that Green-Davis had earned a bachelor's degree in social work.

Official transcripts obtained from Eastern Michigan University, which were presented Wednesday, show that Green-Davis had not attained a bachelor's degree, which is required for teachers under state law.

The district attorney is alleging that Green-Davis essentially stole her salary over the years she worked for the Compton and Centinela Valley school districts.

According to the W-2 forms, she was employed by these districts between 1995 and 2003, where she earned a total of $126,432.

Los Angeles County D.A.'s investigator Vicky Hadley testified that grades, classes taken and semester dates appeared to have been altered. The false transcripts omitted dates when Green-Davis was placed on academic probation. She is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 23.

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