Don't be a Deadbeat

Have you seen those "WANTED" posters for deadbeat parents who haven't paid the thousands they owe in child support? Well, the posters are working.

Since the first "Ten Most Wanted" poster was released by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) in April of 1992, the state has apprehended 50 of the 55 delinquents listed (including two women) on the seven "WANTED" posters issued by the agency. A million dollars in back child support has come in along with these "WANTED" criminals. And, millions more is collected from parents who pay up rather than risk appearing on the posters.

Some deadbeats have breathed a sigh of relief when they're not on the annual "wanted" poster. And, some "deadbeat moms" think that DOR only goes after "deadbeat men."

No more.

There's now a "Wanted -- Deadbeat Parent of the Month" poster. So, deadbeats aren't off the hook if they don't show up as one of "the ten." With the new monthly posters, and the tips they're bringing in, scofflaws could be listed, identified and apprehended when DOR arrives with an arrest warrant -- all within a matter of weeks.

Monthly posters are similar to the annual poster with an offender's name, face, last known Massachusetts address and other identifying information. And, these new "monthlies" have already helped bring in a couple of deadbeats. To make it onto this "wall of shame," deadbeats must have the means to pay what they owe (at least $7,500) and be at least six months behind on their payments.

Massachusetts is pulling out all the stops to collect child support.

The posters are distributed to police departments, post offices, state offices and supermarkets in communities where the deadbeats most recently lived.

Do you have a tip? Don't want to tell who's tellin'?

Call a the toll-free tip line at 1-888-WANTEDS (1-888-926-8337) and leave an anonymous message on the voice mail. The recording will tell you which "poster deadbeats" they're still looking for. If you've got a tip on a "lesser offender" you can leave that, too.

No hiding in cyberspace, either. If you're online, take a peek at the website (www.ma-cse.org) for up to date information. You might be surprised whose picture is there.

A smattering of who was caught last year:

  • A 41 year old venture capitalist who hadn't paid support for his 5 year old for 4 1/2 years. ($116,182)
  • A 38 year old house painter with a dragon tattoo who missed his $60/week payment for 527 weeks (over ten years!) and owed $31,660 for his (now) teenage child
  • A 52 year old physician with a "scar on his face" who missed over 3 years of payments for his three teenagers ($66,714)
  • A software consultant with a "bird tattoo" and his initials on his left arm was 7 1/2 years behind on payments for his two children ($57,850)

So, if you haven't figured it out yet, don't be a deadbeat parent in Massachusetts. Better yet, don't be a deadbeat at all. But, if you're on the run or you've stiffed your children, don't wait to show up on the wall of the local supermarket before you pay up.

It's the law. Besides, no one looks good in a mug shot!

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