Governor orders investigation into Trevino case
Last Update: 12/12/2004 2:47:15 PM
By: Todd Dukart
Gov. Bill Richardson has ordered an investigation into the handling of a child support case where the child apparently never existed.
Richardson’s spokesman, Billy Sparks, said Viola Trevino’s case is “pretty disturbing.”
“The governor is asking HSD [Human Services Department] for a full report on this case: how it happened, what measures were taken once the truth came out, and what possible remedies are available to make sure that it never happens again,” Sparks said. “The whole rationale for payment is this court order and how the court accepted it. That’s definitely an issue here.”
Sparks said the department’s Child Support Enforcement Division’s role is strictly to enforce the child support already ordered by a judge.
A judge on Monday declared that Trevino’s five-year-old daughter never existed. But Trevino apparently conned several government agencies into believing in her existence.
Her ex-husband, Steve Barreras, has paid about $20,000 in child support for the baby. His attorney, Rob Perry, said he hopes to help Barreras get that money back.
Case draws national attention
The case has drawn national attention from several organizations.
Sparks said he has been interviewed by the Internet radio station KrightsRadio.com.
“Why did no one catch this outrageous, alleged fraud five years ago?” wrote station founder Richar’ Farr. “Are there other noncustodial parents suffering similar irregularities at the hands of this agency? There needs to be a federal investigation of this case. Someone needs to be held responsible for this.”
“Barreras, his current wife, and his family have suffered long enough,” he wrote.
Feedback 4 buzzes with reaction
Eyewitness News 4 has received feedback on this story through the Feedback 4 e-mail system from as far away as New York about the story.
“The woman in this case should be charged for felony fraud as there was not even a child to begin with,” wrote one person from Indiana.
A non-custodial father in Pennsylvania wrote, “I would like to see judges being held accountable for not giving each parent 50-50 custody. … The states have reduced fathers into slaves!”
Viewers in New Mexico were also outraged. “The child support system in this state is horrible,” wrote an Albuquerque woman. “A woman can walk into their office with a birth certificate and a ‘sob’ story and the man on that birth certificate is hunted down and forced to pay child support.”
A Belen man wrote, “This story makes me sick.” He wrote that he was paying child support for a baby whose mother left town when the girl was just two weeks old.