The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Janie Lee Espinoza. Ms. Espinoza is a minister in NW Indiana and mother to Roy Buckley. Buckley was serving in Iraq till he was killed in April 2003. After her son's death, Ms. Espinoza got an over $250,000 life insurance meant for his son's six year old daughter. Instead she has spent the money on cars, a time share, an organ for her church among other things. Espinoza was just charged with eight counts of theft related to the misuse of her granddaughter's money.
Just reprehensible is all I say. Ministers are human, not god-like. You would just think someone like Ms. Espinoza would know better. She didn't and for that Janie Lee Espinoza is today's knucklehead of the day.
PS- I'm sorry for Ms. Espinoza's loss but not for what she has done.
Hat tip- Florida Cracker
Open Post- Mudville Gazette, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits, Cao's Blog,
PORTAGE — Janie Lee Espinoza, a minister and the mother of a local soldier who died in Iraq, has been charged with spending more than $250,000 in insurance money meant for her son’s little girl.
Some of it, attorneys say, went to furnish the church where she is a pastor.
One month after Spc. Roy Buckley died in Iraq, police say, his mother became guardian of $250,406 for his child, then 6, until she turned 18.
Espinoza, 56, now has been accused by police and the girl’s attorney of spending it all on cars, jewelry, a time share on a Florida property, church pews and a baby grand piano.
The pews and the piano apparently were given to The Church of Jesus Christ in New Chicago where Espinoza is the pastor.
“This one’s going to upset some people,” said Capt. Terry Swickard of the Portage Police Department.
Espinoza was charged this week with seven Class D felony counts and one Class C felony count of theft.
A warrant was issued for her arrest, and her bond is set at $25,000.
She faces two to eight years in prison if convicted, said Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Brian Gensel.
Espinoza declined to talk about the charges Wednesday, when she was reached at a mobile home in Portage’s Camelot Manor.
But Garry Weiss, her Merrillville attorney, said it wasn’t clear at the time who the beneficiary of the money was, and it was an emotional time for Espinoza.
“She lost her son in the war,” Weiss said. “She was mourning and distraught and was grieving for the loss when all of this occurred.”
Buckley, Espinoza’s son, was the third soldier from Northwest Indiana killed in Iraq. According to the military, he died in a “non-hostile” vehicle accident in Baghdad on April 22, 2003.
Four months earlier, police say, he had taken out a life insurance policy where he named his daughter the beneficiary and Espinoza as the guardian until the girl turned 18.
“Which doesn’t give her the right to spend the money,” Swickard said.