A MOTHER of two young children could end up in prison for an overdue €1,400 fine for fraud, despite her since having paid it.
“My daughter Sara Gonzalez Morales made a mistake back in March and April 2009. She was 24 and unable to control her diagnosed atypical anorexia nervosa and bulimia, for which she had been undergoing treatment since she was 11. She found a purse on the street and used the documents she found there to sign contracts with four phone companies. They gave her four phones for free, which she sold to buy food and binge eat without my knowledge.”
This is the beginning of a letter addressed to the Spanish Ombudswoman, the Ministry of Justice and the President of the Provincial Court of Valencia, written by Maria Jose Morales Pubill – Sara’s mother – and published by Change.org.
In it, Mrs Pubill asks for her daughter to be granted a pardon and for her prison sentence to be suspended.
Morales was sentenced in September 2012 to 21 months in prison for identity theft and to six more for fraud.
Her 21-month prison sentence was later suspended because she did not have a criminal record and she financially compensated all the phone companies involved in her case, said her mother, and her six-month sentence was later commuted to a €1,400 fine, which she paid after it was overdue.
“Because of a series of mistakes her defence lawyers made regarding the €1,400 fine, the court changed its ruling back to a prison sentence in July 2013, but my daughter was not informed. When she found out in October 2013, she immediately paid her fine, but the court said it was too late and that she had to enter prison to serve those six months. They said there was no turning back,” wrote the concerned mother.
According to Maria Jose, her daughter has rebuilt her life and that she does not resemble the person she was in 2009. “She has reintegrated into society, admitted to her wrongdoings and paid all her fines and compensations. And now all her efforts to be happy would be in vain if she had to enter prison,” she lamented.