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'Affluenza' teen: Father said he was a cop, family said wealth to blame for DWIs

The father of the so-called “affluenza” teen, who last year killed four individuals on an illegal drunk-driving joyride, has been arrested for impersonating a cop. In June of 2013, the Texas family made headlines after their teen kid Ethan, then a 16-year-old, ducked jail time by pulling the affluenza card – arguing that their boy was “afflicted” with wealth and therefore unable to distinguish right from wrong.

It appears that daddy too now has a cash-clouded inability to grasp lawful restrictions. Frederick Anthony Couch was arrested Tuesday for an incident that occurred back on July 28 in the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills.

Affluenza, a fusion of the words “affluence” and “influenza,” is a term used by critics of
consumerism. According to, affluenza is defined as the “guilt or lack of motivation experienced by people who have made or inherited large amounts of money; also called sudden-wealth syndrome.”

Writes Reuters news service via MSN News: “The American Psychiatric Association does not recognize affluenza as a diagnosis. The probation given to the teen sparked outrage, with social critics saying it indicated a more lenient court system for the wealthy.”

Ethan’s intoxicated manslaughter charges were reduced to a 10-year probation sentence, stirring outcry.

According to court documents, the elder Couch responded to a disturbance call at a nearby home where (real) police had yet to arrive. After the cops showed up, Couch attempted to convince the officers that he too was on the enforcement side of the law, pulling what appeared to be a shield and ID out of his car. Police dismissed him from the scene, but after digging a little, they found out that Couch’s story was phony-baloney, and was he arrested.

“Couch reached into his vehicle and took out his wallet displaying what appeared to be a police badge and identification card, suggesting he was a police officer,” the arrest document said.

One of the legitimate cops responding to the home last month happened to be a former officer with the Lakeside department, and she questioned Couch, who evidently knew the Lakeside police chief’s name and whose badge even matched that of Lakeside cops. The officer then called up Lakeside Police Chief Lee Pitts, who debunked Couch as just an average citizen.

Police did not yet release details on what Couch was doing at the home or why he pretended to be a cop. He was released on a $2,500 bond – chump change evidently for the family that has already shelled out millions to settle with the families of Ethan’s victims.

They say money talks. It appears the Couch’s wealth does quite a bit of talking for them.

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