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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 August 2005, 01:42 GMT 02:42 UK
Jackson witness on fraud charge
Michael Jackson
Mr Jackson was found not guilty of all charges against him
The mother of the teenage boy at the centre of a sex abuse trial against Michael Jackson has been charged with making false social security claims.

Los Angeles prosecutors accuse Janet Arvizo of fraudulently collecting almost $19,000 (10,500) in benefits.

She was a key prosecution witness in the case, which saw Mr Jackson being acquitted of all charges.

Evidence of her alleged benefit fraud was presented during the trial by Mr Jackson's defence lawyers.

Refusal to speak

They said she had claimed to be poor, despite having collected about $150,000 in a legal action against a department store.

Ms Arvizo, mother of 15-year-old Gavin, refused to testify about her financial situation during the sex abuse trial on the grounds that she might incriminate herself.

"These charges are the result of a very careful investigation of allegations that she basically lied to receive aid," Los Angeles District Attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

"We felt the evidence was sufficient to file these counts," she added.

Ms Arvizo, whose married name is Mrs Jackson, could face five years in jail if prosecuted.


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