Former Yuba County government employee Yolanda Fryson was sentenced Wednesday to nine years and four months in prison by a judge who said, "from a moral standpoint, this is at least close to the worst crime I have seen in 21 years on the bench."
"I have a public official who picked out a completely innocent person," said Placer County Superior Court Judge Joe W. O' Flaherty. "This was about money from Day 1."
Jurors had found the former Child Protective Services worker guilty Nov. 1 of 16 felony charges, including attempted extortion and bribery, that Fryson faced in the Placer County Superior Court trial.
Fryson, 43, was on administrative leave from her Yuba County job for separate allegations of passing checks with insufficient funds when sheriff's deputies arrested her October 2008 in a Starbucks parking lot near her home in Rocklin.
She had falsely told a Roseville man he was the subject of a file she possessed involving child molestation allegations. He contacted Yuba County officials, who in turn alerted the Placer County Sheriff's Department. In an undercover law enforcement operation, the man was given $10,000 that an officer saw Fryson accept Oct. 30, 2008.
Contractor Christopher Lindsay, 40, who has filed a lawsuit against Fryson and Yuba County in federal court, said that Fryson told him she could make the unfounded charges go away by paying her $10,000. Child Protective Services failed to adequately supervise Fryson, according to the suit in federal court in Sacramento.
Judge O'Flaherty in court called Lindsay a guy I'd like to have beside me in combat — and noted the tough nature of building contractors.
"These guys are not pansies," the judge.
But he noted Lindsay was emotional when talking about what he faced because of the false allegations Fryson made.
Lindsay spoke Wednesday in court before Fryson's sentencing and recounted the "three days of complete hell" he faced after she'd told him of the file on her desk about the molestation Lindsay knew had never occurred.
"In one moment my life was turned upside down," Lindsay said.
"I know you're not remorseful, Yolanda," he said. "You're a sociopath."
Fryson apologized in court to him.
"I did wrong for lying to you," she said.
Fryson went of to speak about the "peace of God" and said, "He knows the truth and he know my heart."
Her attorney Justin Mixon called Fryson "a God-fearing woman who has made a mistake." Mixon said his client's crimes warranted punishment but asked that she be placed on probation. The District Attorney sought a 22-year prison sentence for Fryson.
Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Macumber said in court of Fryson that she "truly is a con."
"She says whatever she needs to say," Macumber said.
Sentencing memorandums filed by the Placer County District Attorney's Office in the criminal case stated that Fryson had once threatened a co-worker with bodily harm. Fryson's personnel file includes the threat, according to the court filing.
Fryson also maintained in jail calls last month with her mother that she had been set up when arrested, according to the court filing. Fryson also claims to be employed by a company called "Two Angels Cleaning Service," but that business could not be found, the D.A.'s office said. If the company is a business, Macumber wrote, Two Angels is the same name as the company Fryson had in 2008. The defendant wrote worthless checks on her business account for the company, Macumber noted.
"With 17 felony convictions on her criminal record, it does not appear appropriate for the defendant to be involved in any business that allows her access to homes or businesses, or for her to have control over any financial records or bank accounts," the prosecutor wrote.
A separate sentencing memorandum filed last month by the prosecution noted that Fryson was disciplined in 2008 for preparing false time sheets and mileage as a Child Protective Services worker, arrested in 2003 for check fraud in Florida and convicted in 1990 of grand theft in Los Angeles County.
CONTACT reporter Ryan McCarthy at 749-4707 or mccarthy@appealdemocrat.