COA counselor gets probation for forgery, identity theft

By Reginald James Editor
A former College of Alameda counselor was sentenced Monday to five years probation and 120 days in jail for multiple felony charges, including forgery and identity theft.

Shirley Robinson, 69, who has been in custody at Santa Rita Jail for nearly a month since a jury convicted her of ten felonies, was sentenced at Alameda County Superior Court on March 29 and ordered to pay restitution and stay away from the victims.

"Robinson created a forged power of attorney in an attempt to sell the property without victim Robert's knowledge."
Alameda County DA
The convictions stem from a real estate fraud and identity theft scheme perpetrated at the height of the real estate boom of 2005, according to prosecutors. Robinson and the victim, former COA counselor Alze Roberts, were friends for 50 years.

Robinson created a forged power of attorney–authorization to act on behalf of someone else–in an attempt to sell the property without Roberts knowing, prosecutors said. To make that transaction appear legit, Robinson also stole the identity of three other individuals.

Robinson lacked remorse for her crime and refused to take responsibility for her actions, the judge said. The only remorse Robinson had, the judge said, was that she had not taken the prosecution’s initial offer of probation before she was jailed.

Robinson, who appeared in court wearing a blue county-issued jumpsuit, said was “deeply troubled” by the events that have taken place.

After being in jail for a month, Robinson said, “There’s no way I could not be remorseful for every event.” She later acknowledged her responsibility for presenting the power of attorney, after urging by the judge. “I am remorseful.”

There’s no way I could not be remorseful for every event. I am remorseful.
Shirley Robinson
Robinson was initially sentenced to five years probation. If she complies with the terms of probation, in three years time, she may get off early.

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney David Lim requested Robinson serve one year in county jail for the charges. The judge said it was not warranted. The judge then sentenced Robinson to four months in jail, including 30 days time served with the remaining to be under electronic home confinement.

Robinson will also have to pay restitution amounting in $500 along with a parallel $500 fine once the probation is successfully completed. There is civil judgment currently on appeal with Roberts claiming $300,000 along with attorney’s fees, but it was not considered relating to this case, the judge said.

The judge ordered Robinson to submit to search and seizure of her person, vehicle, belongings and her residence, if at a reasonable hour. Robinson was also ordered to stay at least 25 yards away from Roberts, and at least 10 yards away from the other three victims and two witnesses.

Robinson, a former COA Department Chair, was employed by the Peralta Colleges for 40 years. She recently retired, according to a COA spokesperson. Roberts was a counselor at COA from 1989 until she retired in 2008.

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