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New program exposes deadbeat parents

March 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Modeled on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list, a new county program officially being unveiled Tuesday will use wanted posters in an effort to locate the 10 "most egregious" child-support-payment evaders, officials said. Michael Lee, Gustavo Chacon and Abdoul R. Sesay all do not know each other, but they all have something in common. They are among the county's 10 "most egregious" child-support evaders.

Together they owe more than $2 million in unpaid support to 17 children. Child Support Services and the District Attorney's Office say that they are putting deadbeat dads on notice.

"We are going to keep doing it until there is no backlog. All we have is a judge issues a warrant and we go out and arrest the individual and that day is not to far away," said District Attorney Steve Cooley.

There are more than 1,000 L.A. County parents with outstanding warrants for failing to pay child support.

By naming the top 10 the county hopes that other parents will meet their obligations for the child's sake.

The group Fathers-4-Justice calls it a public relations ploy.

"And this guy here had the nerve to say that they want to collect money to benefit the children. That is the biggest lie these politicians tell. None of this stuff done by the courts is done for the children," said Fred Sottile.

Child Support Services Department Director Steven Golightly strongly disagrees with Sottile's statement. He is urging parents to contact his office before they get into a situation where they can't get out from under. Past due amounts accrue interest.

"If you come in and work with us, in many instances early on when the child support case is established, we can ensure that the order is in place is a realistic amount of money that we are attempting to collect," said Golightly.

Some people who owe child support may not have the ability to pay and spending time in jail might effect their earning potential. Child Support Services says that it can also force to pay through other means.

"We had a situation just last week where an individual was in jail and they managed to post bail and arrange a $10,000 payment on their account with a gift from a relative," said Golightly.

The vast majority of parents that have delinquent child support payments are men, but there are some women. The county says that they do not want to put parents in jail, but that is the last resort for parents who do not meet their obligation.

If you have any information on any of the 10 most wanted evaders you are asked to call Child Support Service Department at 213-351-8696.

 

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