Parents Accused Of Stealing Education For 5-Year-Old Daughter - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Parents Accused Of Stealing Education For 5-Year-Old Daughter

Posted: Updated:
Hamlet and Olesia Garcia addressed reporters Thursday and insisted they aren't criminals. The two are charged with education theft. Hamlet and Olesia Garcia addressed reporters Thursday and insisted they aren't criminals. The two are charged with education theft.
PHILADELPHIA -

Hamlet and Olesia Garcia insist they are not criminals- just a married couple going through a tough time, and trying to do what's right for their young daughter.

"We never have an intention to deceive anyone," says Hamlet with a heavy sigh. "These charges, we believe, are based on a misunderstanding by the authorities."

The Garcias are charged with theft of service- a felony- by Montgomery County authorities, in a case that has parents all over the country talking.

The Garcia's live in Philadelphia- on Philmont Terrace- near the Montgomery County border.

By rights, their then-5 year old daughter Fiorella should have attended kindergarten last year, at nearby Loesche Elementary school- still within the city.

But the couple says when they separated prior to last school year, Olesia took Fiorella to live with mom's father in Huntingdon Valley, and the little girl attended Pine Road School in the Lower Moreland district.

The couple says they reconciled late in the school year, and mom and daughter moved back to their Philly address.

It was around that time, that Montgomery County authorities began to investigate.

They claim the family never officially lived in the Lower Moreland district, and so, had scammed the district out of a $10,753 out-of-district tuition payment.

Says Hamlet: "All we want is, to pay the tuition and ask the DA please to drop the charges."

The couple's attorney calls the case a misunderstanding, and an invasion of privacy.

"We're getting really into people's personal lives," said Thomas Kenny during a midday news conference. "And once we get into people's bedrooms, I think it's a time for all of us to change this constitution."

Parent activists who support the Garcias, say the real crime, is how we fund our public schools: live in a wealthy neighborhood, get the best of everything. Live in a poor neighborhood, and make due with less.

"It should never be a crime for a parent to do what is right for their child," says Gwen Samuel of the Connecticut Parents Union. "And one of the rights and obligations we have as parents, is to make sure that our children- and all children- have access to a great education."

FOX 29 was unable to reach Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman Vetri for comment on the Garcias' claims.

The couple is due in court December 19, for a formal arraignment.

If convicted on the theft charges, they could- at least in theory- spend time behind bars.

  • Bruce Gordon ReportsMore>>

  • Baby That Needs Specialized Formula Receives Overwhelming Support

    Baby That Needs Specialized Formula Receives Overwhelming Support

    Thursday, August 14 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-08-15 01:59:13 GMT
    Insurance policies have rules governing what's covered and what's not. Generally, they make sense. The rules are designed to prevent unreasonable costs from being passed along to the insurer, and by extension to other insurance customers. But listen to Sheree Kober's story. 
    Insurance policies have rules governing what's covered and what's not. Generally, they make sense. The rules are designed to prevent unreasonable costs from being passed along to the insurer, and by extension to other insurance customers. But listen to Sheree Kober's story. 

  • Getting Results: Resident Fed Up With Living Next To Vacant Home

    Getting Results: Resident Fed Up With Living Next To Vacant Home

    Wednesday, June 11 2014 10:24 PM EDT2014-06-12 02:24:23 GMT
    Fox 29 is working to get results for one local woman who fears for her safety.In a region filled with rowhomes, a homeowners’ worst nightmare is the home next door becoming vacant, and slowly disintegrating.Sharon Redwood says she's owned her home on West 6th Street in Chester, Delaware County, for most of her adult life.She says the place next door has been vacant for years.It’s become an eyesore, and a dangerous one at that."The roof has fallen from the third floor, down to the basement. (F...
    Fox 29 is working to get results for one local woman who fears for her safety.In a region filled with rowhomes, a homeowners’ worst nightmare is the home next door becoming vacant, and slowly disintegrating.Sharon Redwood says she's owned her home on West 6th Street in Chester, Delaware County, for most of her adult life.She says the place next door has been vacant for years.It’s become an eyesore, and a dangerous one at that."The roof has fallen from the third floor, down to the basement. (F...
  • Philadelphia Police Says #NoSavesies To Public Parking

    Philadelphia Police Says #NoSavesies To Public Parking

    Wednesday, January 29 2014 7:10 PM EST2014-01-30 00:10:03 GMT
    It follows major snowstorms like day follows night, the practice of using old junk to save the parking space you just dug out!
    It follows major snowstorms like day follows night, the practice of using old junk to save the parking space you just dug out!
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police: Man Left Child In Car While Gambling In Del.

    Police: Man Left Child In Car While Gambling In Del.

    Delaware State Police have arrested a Maryland man for leaving his child unattended in a car while he was gambling in a casino.
    Delaware State Police have arrested a Maryland man for leaving his child unattended in a car while he was gambling in a casino.
  • New Jersey OKs Trump Plaza shutdown Sept. 16

    New Jersey OKs Trump Plaza shutdown Sept. 16

    New Jersey casino regulators have given final approval to Trump Plaza's plan to shut down in two weeks.
    New Jersey casino regulators have given final approval to Trump Plaza's plan to shut down in two weeks.
  • Friends work to 'save' Pennsylvania bucket bear

    Friends work to 'save' Pennsylvania bucket bear

    A group of friends has tracked down and helped to save a western Pennsylvania bear that got its head stuck in a bucket-like contraption.
    A group of friends has tracked down and helped to save a western Pennsylvania bear that got its head stuck in a bucket-like contraption.
Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices