A former Yuba County child protective services worker who falsely accused a Placer County man of child molestation in an effort to extort money from him is headed to state prison for nine years and four months.
Yolanda Perez Fryson, 43, of Rocklin, who was also found guilty of other crimes during a recent jury trial, was given the prison term Wednesday by Placer County Superior Court Judge Joseph O”Flaherty, who called her extortion attempt ‘close to the worst crime I’ve seen in my 21 years on the bench.’
‘A public official picked out a completely innocent victim for monetary reasons,’ O”Flaherty said. ‘It’s a despicable crime. You can’t ignore the evilness of this conduct.’
The victim of the crime, a 40-year-old Roseville man, attended the sentencing and fought back tears as he told the court how being falsely accused of child molestation had turned his world upside down.
The victim said he spent ‘three days of hell’ wondering what to do and kept imagining being led away in handcuffs by police or having people point to him in the false belief that he was a child molester. He said he even briefly contemplated suicide.
He said he still has nightmares about being arrested and losing his family.
The victim eventually told an attorney about Fryson’s accusation. The attorney referred him to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, which set up a sting operation in which the victim met with Fryson in a parking lot to hand over $10,000 in exchange for the alleged molestation issue being dropped.
Fryson was immediately arrested when she accepted the money.
At the time, Fryson was on administrative leave from the Yuba County CPS Office because of an arrest for a scheme known as ‘check kiting,’ in which a person deposits worthless checks into bank accounts and quickly withdraws money before the insufficient funds can be confirmed.
During the extortion attempt on the victim, Fryson, despite being on leave from her job and out on bail for the check fraud charges, displayed her CPS badge, which she had previously reported to her office as having been lost or stolen.
Prosecutor Stephanie Macumber of the Placer County District Attorney’s Office said the defendant continued to commit crimes even after the check kiting and extortion incidents.
Macumber said Fryson, again out on bail and making an attempt to get out of the check fraud charges, forged a letter absolving her of wrongdoing and signed the name of a 29-year veteran bank employee on it.
Fryson also pressured at least two other bank employees to write letters stating the overdrafts were bank errors and not her fault, Macumber said.
Fryson’s trial on 16 felony counts took place in October, and the jury returned on Nov. 1 with guilty verdicts on all counts, which included such crimes as the attempted extortion, check fraud, falsifying evidence, forgery and accepting a bribe.