Chiquita Rivers pleaded guilty yesterday in Tift County Superior Court to seven counts of Forgery in the First Degree (O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1). Judge Melanie B. Cross sentenced Rivers to serve four years in prison, followed by 16 years probation and restitution in the amount of $19,385.00. She was taken into custody immediately.

Rivers is the granddaughter of a retired Worth County schoolteacher. She stole retirement benefits inadvertently paid by the Teachers’ Retirement System of Georgia to her grandmother after her grandmother’s death in 1994 until her death was discovered in February 2010. Rivers stole the benefits by cashing forged checks written from her deceased grandmother’s bank account and executing fraudulent documents to facilitate the theft.

Assistant Attorney General Shepard Orlow prosecuted the case on behalf of the State of Georgia. The case was investigated by Special Agent Marko Jones of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.