Late Marine’s death benefits ‘misused’

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Alves was supposed to place $100,000, monthly benefits in trust for Lewis’ daughter

By Ben Carlson

When Marine Cpl. Timothy Lewis volunteered to defend his country, he made it clear that if he died doing while doing so, his young daughter was to receive the financial benefits paid to survivors of those who make the ultimate sacrifice.
That apparently didn’t happen, though, and the child’s mother is now facing 33 felony counts for theft by failure to make required disposition.
Christina Alves, 24, who at the time of her arrest lived at 1028 Bradley Dr., Lawrenceburg, is accused of misusing the $100,000 death benefit Lewis bequeathed to his daughter along with just over $1,700 in month support for her own purposes, according to court documents.
Lewis, 21, died in February of 2007 while training for the war on terror in the Philippines, according to a casualty report issued by the US Marine Corps.
The Department of Defense released the $100,000 death benefit to Alves because she was the child’s legal guardian, but it, and subsequent monthly payments, were supposed to be held in trust for Lewis’ daughter, according to court documents.
The case was probated in Anderson District Court, where Alves was held in contempt by Judge Linda Armstrong for “misleading the court” about the amount of the lump sum payment as well as failing to make mortgage payments on house she purchased with a portion of that money.
Court documents show that just a year after Lewis’ death, only $28,809 of the lump sum payment remained.
On Oct. 8, 2009, Armstrong ordered Alves not to dispose of any more of the child’s money, but the following day Alves withdrew just over $1,000 from another account, according to court documents.
Alves was originally charged by deputy Eddie Holmes of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office in October of 2009. In his citation, Holmes wrote that Alves had deposited the monthly payments of $1,700 “into her own personal checking/savings accounts and used the money as her own and has failed to place the money in a separate account for her daughter’s benefit.”
He added that Alves received a death benefit of $100,000 “and that money is unaccounted for as well.”
She was charged with 33 counts of a Class D felony.
Alves was indicted on the charges in August of 2010. She is scheduled to appear in Anderson Circuit Court for a disposition hearing next month.