Mesa couple accused of fraud, phony credentials in child services case

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by Marie Saavedra

azfamily.com

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 28 at 9:35 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- Wednesday afternoon in east Mesa, our 3TV cameras found Maricopa County deputies digging through the home of Ciara and Michael Coultrap. It was here that they owned and operated Legacy Family and Children services, a visitation and mediation agency.

But the Sheriff's office calls it an elaborate sham to scam the courts and countless families for tens of thousands of dollars.

Gerald Chirnomas said he was ordered by the courts to bring his granddaughter's to the Coultrap home, so they'd be supervised on visits with their father. He thought this would be done under the care of Ciara Coultrap's stellar credentials.

"She came down the stairs of her second story house that they rent, dressed in scrubs and [was] introduced as Doctor," he said. 

Officers say Ciara operated as the Director of Family Services. On the businesses website, it says "She has already earned, and been awarded, the following academic credentials: a doctorate of science in counseling psychology, a doctorate in family psychology, a doctorate of philosophy in biology;" but investigators say those are lies.

She has no PhDs, but she's repeatedly portrayed herself as a doctor. Her husband Michael has helped, by misrepresenting her credentials to the court.
 
"We're talking about children, we're talking about mediation...this is very sensitive," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The Sheriff fears what the Coultrap's are accused of gives supervised visitation and mediation a bad name. Chirnomas fears for his granddaughters, and the time spent with people who pretended to be something they're not.

"Ciara Coultrap did therapy with her! What kind of therapy can she do when she has...her own family issues?" he asked.

Deputies also name a local psychologist, Dr. Eugene Cherry, as submitting up to four documents saying that Ciara Coultrap is his colleague and a doctor. Deputies say he could be indicted. 

Investigators believe hundreds of families could have had dealings with the Coultraps and want to hear from them. If you or someone you know dealt with them, you're asked to call the Maricopa County Sheriff's Detectives at (602) 876-1853 Monday through Friday.
 

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