By: Kai D. Patterson
Today I was performing a skip-trace investigation to locate a non-custodial parent who owes over $60,000 in unpaid child support. I was able to determine the parent is allowing their mail to be sent to a previous address in another state. The non-custodial parent’s mail is then packaged up, sent to the address in the state they reside, and in the name of their company. This is all done to prevent paying child support.
Now that Project Child Support has determined the name of the non-custodial parent’s company and their address, we are able to move forward with obtaining a Child Support Enforcement Order. The order will enable an arrest warrant to be issued and seizure of the non-custodial parent’s assets to pay their unpaid child support. This is a classic case of a non-custodial parent using a company they created to evade paying child support.
The Office of Child Support Enforcement cannot garnish the wages of non-custodial parents who are paid through companies they establish, and paid as independent contractors, if non-custodial parents fail to garnish themselves. They must rely on non-custodial parents properly garnishing themselves, and who is going to properly garnish themselves if their intent to not pay child support? Although it is a violation of Code 1706 of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, many employers would rather pay individuals as independent contractors, and through employees’ companies, when they should be paid as W-4 Employees. Employers save paying employees’ payroll taxes, disability expenses, insurance costs and benefits if an individual is paid as a contractor. A non-custodial parent can relocate, and reside undetected in another state by putting agreements in their company’s name; including their residential leases, automobile financings, insurance and utilities. As a result, non-custodial parents use companies to evade paying child support arrears owed to children, and owe more than $100 billion to their children within in the United States. According to an article published by CNN, taxpayers pickup almost half of every dollar owed in unpaid child support to children in the United States (See: CNN's Article).
In October 2013, Project Child Support broke the story that Steven Jordan, (AKA “Stevie J”) owed over a million dollars in unpaid child support (See: Release). In January 2014, Stevie J opened a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia with Benzino called “Sleazy & Zino Bar and Grill” and the Office of Child Support Enforcement could not garnish a dime from him. For more than 16 years before we broke the story, Stevie J has used companies he has established to receive millions of dollars, and to prevent paying child support. Stevie J receives his music royalties, television royalties, appearances fees and endorsements through companies he has established. Yes, although Stevie J was arrested in June 2014, most of the millions he received through his companies have long been spent without his children receiving adequate support. How effective is Stevie J’s arrest and prosecution without changing the flaws in the laws he used, which enable millions of non-custodial parents to evade supporting their children?
Although the Office of Child Support Enforcement will suspend driver’s licenses, seize tax refunds, revoke passports, and issue arrest warrants against non-custodial parents who fail to pay child support, laws must be passed to prevent non-custodial parents who owe child support from owning companies, individually or as members. The same databases used to suspend non-custodial parents’ license privileges can be used to deny non-custodial parents from establishing corporations who owe substantial arrears. Again, the same databases used to seize tax refunds, can be used to prevent granting tax identification numbers to non-custodial parents who owe substantial child support arrears. A corporation with a tax identification number is an entity that can be treated almost like a person. Unfortunately, many times it’s used as a person to defraud children of their support. Preventing non-custodial parents who owe substantial child support arrears from obtaining corporate charters, and receiving tax identification numbers, will prevent them from using the tool needed evade paying child support, and costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
Project Child Support will be seeking the support of advocates to support the “Stevie J Bill” to revoke corporate charters and to prevent non-custodial parents from establishing corporations who owe substantial child support arrears. We have been meeting with lawmakers to sponsor the Stevie J Bill, which is desperately needed for America's children. If you wish to support the development of a bill, please go to the Project Child Support Facebook Page and provide us with your e-mail address to receive a copy of the petition to sign. Remember, this bill will enable children to receive the support they deserve.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PARENTS MAY CONTACT
Project Child Support at (855) 851-HELP or (855) 851-4357
or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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