Elsa Lynch, Former Paradise Valley Judge, Sentenced to One Year of Probation for Theft of Federal Benefits

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Elsa Lynch, a longtime judge and court administrator in Paradise Valley who abruptly retired last summer, has received a sentence of one year's probation for theft of government benefits.

As we reported in January, Lynch was indicted by a federal grand jury a few weeks after "retiring" from her position last July. She had worked for the town for about 18 years and helped pioneer PV's photo enforcement program, one of the first in the country.

Federal prosecutors said Lynch, who lives in Gilbert, augmented her income with about $15,000 in fraudulent claims she submitted to the U.S. Veterans Affairs Compensation and Pension program in the name of her deceased mother.

We received an e-mail this week from someone in the judicial field who asked us to find out what happened to Lynch. No other news outlet wrote about Lynch's troubles, even though thousands of Valley residents appeared in her court over the years.

The U.S. Attorney's office sent us the paperwork today from the March 16 sentencing: On top of the one-year probation sentence, Lynch also had to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $25 special assessment. A potential fine was waived because Lynch is broke.

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