Court of Appeal overturns booze ban in Solano welfare fraud case

By From page A3 | July 26, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The Court of Appeal has overturned a local judge’s ban on alcohol for a welfare fraud offender imposed so she could take any money she might spend on booze and use it to repay the state.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate she purchase either drugs or alcohol until she’s paid back the amount she obtained fraudulently,” Judge Peter B. Foor said last year of $4,314 Sabrina A. Sims had been wrongly paid in welfare payments and food stamps in 2008 and 2009.

For several months, Sims was paid $11.50 an hour in state social services money to care for her infirm husband at their Suisun City home. She did not report that income to local welfare officials who did not catch up to the oversight until 2013.

Sims ended up pleading no contest to a felony, agreeing to work 100 community service hours, to repay the ill-gotten bounty and spend three years on formal probation.

After Sims’ sentencing, prosecutors echoed support for Foor’s alcohol prohibition.

“The additional alcohol-related conditions were designed to ensure [her] compliance with the restitution order. The conditions relate to the crime of which (Sims) was convicted in that they guarantee that [she] will pay her restitution obligation before using or purchasing alcohol,” prosecutors said in appellate court filings, adding that the booze ban would force Sims to ”prioritize her income and expenses to repay [the state].”

The Court of Appeal was silent on Foor’s decision – other than reversing it, but they faulted prosecutors’ reasoning.

“The people’s broad assertions that these conditions somehow will “guarantee” Sims’s compliance with the restitution order and deter any future similar criminal conduct essentially argue for a court’s micromanagement of a probationer’s budget whenever restitution is ordered – a practice we refuse to endorse,” the Court of Appeal ruling stated.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 4 comments

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  • truth'nJuly 26, 2014 - 12:10 am

    More Jack-Donkey Judges. It is more important she booze it up, than to have her repay the TAXPAYERS she ripped off. It's time we all started going to these trials and demand our voices be heard.

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  • Mr. PracticalJuly 26, 2014 - 6:40 am

    Apparently taxpayers aren't allowed to keep benefit recipients accountable. It's true of the SNAP program, Section 8, Welfare, Unemployment and here.

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  • just my opinionJuly 26, 2014 - 10:25 am

    I'm game if you are truth'n. Then we can find out on our own what's really happening when dr don't report the full story.

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  • TaxPayerHardWorkerJuly 26, 2014 - 3:52 pm

    This woman is one of many in Solano County who use and abuse the system!. Really the system itself should be better!!. Why doesn't IHSS for Solano County do better research on someone that applies. Here's a wild idea, maybe IHSS should have contacted the welfare department to verify if this woman was on any other assistance!. When you apply for benefits as long as you say NO to any question asking about assets or checking accounts or employment, the county takes No for No!!. There should be a thorough background check and especially if your applying for any type of benefits in the same county!. IHSS and the welfare department are in the same building. One phone call would have saved the taxpayers some money!.

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