GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Wyoming woman previously exposed by Target 8 for scamming apartment hunters will spend six months in jail for her latest criminal caper.
A Kent County judge sentenced Angela Arvizu Wednesday for stealing credit cards from elderly next-door neighbor.
The 91-year-old victim was in the courtroom for the sentencing, though a caretaker spoke in court on her behalf.
“It’s affected her mentally, emotionally, and she no longer feels safe at home,” John Ballard Jr. told the judge. “We were taken in by the ruse that (Arvizu) was helpful, kind and nice while she was ripping off (the victim).”
When it was Arvizu’s turn to speak, the 40-year-old landlady from Wyoming began crying.
“I would like to apologize to the victims first,” Arvizu said tearfully, before pausing to wipe her eyes as she stood before the judge.
“I’d like to say sorry to my family. I’m sorry to you,” she told the judge.
Circuit Court Judge Joe Rossi sentenced Arvizu to two years’ probation, at least six months of which will be served behind bars in the Kent County jail.
The charge, stealing a financial transaction device, carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison. However, sentencing guidelines, which take into account factors like prior criminal history, called for anywhere from zero to 11 months in jail.
“I’ve got to tell you that the recommendation by the Department of Corrections and the statements of your attorney on your behalf and your own statements that you want to recover here are the only things keeping you out of (prison),” Rossi told Arvizu. “Because I do see the repeated conduct here. I also see that when you were talking to the presentence interviewer, he determined you were providing untrue information.”
Rossi said he would recommend that Arvizu spend the last three months of her six month jail sentence in the Sober Living Unit, a program that helps inmates prepare for clean living on the outside. The unit is inside the jail, though it’s physically separate from the general population. Arvizu requested she be placed in the Sober Living Unit.
“If you’re in front of me again, I’m going to have little option but to send you to (prison),” Rossi told Arvizu. “This is truly your last chance and I hope you treat it as such.”
Target 8 first put out an alert about Angela Arvizu in September 2016 after getting tips that she was ripping off desperate house hunters. Arvizu, who has a couple rental properties, later pleaded guilty to conning potential renters by collecting background check fees, but not performing the checks.
She was also charged criminally after she pocketed an apartment hunter’s $600 deposit but never produced an available unit.
Arvizu has a prior conviction for misdemeanor drug use in January 2016 and was arrested previously for shoplifting and welfare fraud.