Did you see the article in the newspaper the other day, about a dad who owed more than $245,000 and was put on probation, after being criminally charged?
In a case of one of Milwaukee’s worst deadbeat dad cases, a personal trainer from California was sentenced to five years of probation for failing to pay child support, including interest of over $245,000.
The individual owing the back due child support, Raul Cardona, also must meet terms and conditions to avoid incarceration, including being obligated to pay back the past due support money, or he could be placed in prison for 3.5 years. Cardona has already served 19 months in jail and forfeited $20,000 posted initially as bail money.
The attorneys prosecuting the case were seeking imprisonment as part of the sentence, but the trial judge felt that the goal of the law was to get the money paid and not simply to punish the dad. The judge was quoted as saying, “I am not the parent police.”
For over 14 years, Cardona failed to pay child support. His daughter is now an adult. The dad’s failure to pay created a huge financial burden on the child’s mother who raised the child alone for 10 years without help from the father.
During the same time, Cardona failed to pay child support, he apparently was making a six figure income. At the time of his arrest, he was driving a Mercedes Benz on his way to a Los Angeles county club where he was employed.
He was criminally charged with five counts of felony non-support. In March, he plead guilty to three of the five counts.
Under the terms of his probation, he must remain in the Milwaukee area, instead of returning to Los Angekes where he lives with his girlfriend and their 7 year old child. Cardona is required to pay $500 a month starting in Fall. After a year, the amount increases to $750 a month.
A court hearing is scheduled for November to deal with the remaining $202,000 under a restitution order.
Apparently, even with Cardona owing more than $250,000 in back child support, there are other cases in the County system where even more money is owed by dead beat dads.
Years ago, laws were created to protect recipient parents from collecting child support by requiring those payments to be payroll deducted automatically out of the obliger’s payroll checks. For the most part, the system works. Where it sometime falls apart, is where a person is self employed, and a wage assignment cannot be used, since they essentially pay themselves. Another circumstance would be where a person changes jobs frequently, including perhaps, moving around to different cities, and the wage assignment cannot keep pace with the number of changes in the person’s employment or location.
The law allows a person to be criminally charged with a felony crime, for failing to pay child support. To get the attention of the district attorney, a serious amount of money must be involved. Even in cases such as this one, it took years to hunt this guy down and finally get a guilty plea for non payment of support. The support was needed for the child while she was a minor; while the money is still due and owing, and the statute of limitations from a civil perspective still allows the money to be legally pursued, that is hardly solace for the mother and the now adult child who could have used that financial support during the child’s minority, when it was needed the most.
One needs to question whether giving probation to a deadbeat dad who owes over $245,000 in back due child support was too lenient, or a message should have been sent to him and all other deadbeat parents who fail to pay their court ordered child support, to have sentenced Cardona to a prison sentence. Should he have been made to pay “a pound of flesh” for his transgressions?
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