From a press release issued by the Georgia Attoney General's Office.A Tift County Grand Jury indicted Chiquita Rivers yesterday on seven counts of Forgery in the First Degree (O.C.G.A. 16-9-1). Additionally, in January 2012, Rivers was indicted by a Worth County Grand Jury on ten felony counts and three misdemeanor counts of Theft by Taking (O.C.G.A. 16-8-2); three counts of False Statements and Writings (O.C.G.A. 16-10-20); and six counts of Forgery in the First Degree (O.C.G.A. 16-9-1).
The indictments allege that Rivers, the granddaughter of a retired Worth County schoolteacher, stole retirement benefits inadvertently paid by the Teachers TM Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) to Rosa Lee Lumpkin after her death in 1994 until her death was discovered in February 2010. Allegedly, Rivers stole the benefits by cashing forged checks written from her deceased grandmother TMs bank account and executed fraudulent documents to facilitate the theft.
Forgery in the First Degree and felony Theft by Taking are punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine; misdemeanor Theft by Taking is punishable by a maximum of 12 months in prison and up to a $1,000 fine; and False Statements and Writings is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.
Assistant Attorney General Shepard Orlow is prosecuting the case on behalf of the State of Georgia. The case was investigated by Special Agent Marko Jones of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Members of the public should keep in mind that indictments contain only allegations against the individual(s) against whom the indictment is sought. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and it will be the government TMs burden at trial to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the allegations contained in the indictment.