• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Foster couple accused of stealing child funds

June 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In an alleged fraud case, a foster couple is accused of taking in thousands of dollars meant for child care and spending it on themselves. They're also accused of allegedly trying to collect more money long after the children had left their care.Over the past six years, Purcell and Laverne Johnson were trusted with taking care of nearly 90 foster children in their Riverside County foster home called T Town Group Homes. For that, they were paid a salary of $144,000 a year.

But for them, that wasn't good enough, at least not according to District Attorney Rod Pacheco, who says the two stole more than $470,000 from taxpayers.

"It's horrific and they are now feeling, at least you can see from her picture at least, the accountability that comes with that kind of atrocious behavior," said Pacheco.

This couple ran several foster care homes across the county, including one in Perris. They housed six children at a time there and were paid $5,600 a month per child. But instead of spending that money on the children, Pacheco says the two spent it on gym memberships, expensive restaurants and on vehicles like a 2002 Cadillac Escalade and a 2005 Land Rover. They were supposed to be providing a safe harbor for some of the county's most neglected children.

"Our society contracts with folks like Mr. and Mrs. Johnson to provide that safe harbor. Instead, they were preying on our most vulnerable children, not just any old child, but the most vulnerable," said Pacheco.

T Town Group Homes is now out of business and the properties have been sold. The two were arraigned Tuesday afternoon.

Your feedback is important to us! Please complete a brief survey so we may continue to improve abc7.com


Load Comments