Officials look for suspected deadbeat parents

March 18, 2010 9:25:33 AM PDT
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants the public's help to locate a parent who appears on the Child Support Division's new Top Ten List of Texas' Most Wanted Child Support Evaders. Tomas Roman, whose last known address is in Houston, owes $160,928 for the support of his two children from Katy. "This father is neglecting his children by refusing to pay court-ordered child support," said Attorney General Abbott. "We urge Texans to help us locate parents who are wanted by authorities for failing to pay child support. Parents who ignore their responsibility to support their children must be held accountable for violating the law."

Under Texas law, the attorney general is obligated to release an annual most wanted list. This year's list names parents who owe a combined $1.1 million in overdue child support. The subjects are eluding authorities to avoid arrest for failing to pay their court-ordered child support. Tomas Roman is making his second appearance on the Top Ten List because officials hope that renewed attention will generate fresh leads to find him.

The Child Support Division maintains a toll free number, (866) EVADERS (382-3377), so that Texans can anonymously provide information on the whereabouts of missing evaders. Take a close look at photos of the evaders. In recent years, many missing parents have been located thanks to anonymous tips from the public.

The Attorney General's Child Support Division works with local law enforcement to locate and incarcerate delinquent parents when courts issue warrants for their arrest. All of the parents on the evader list are wanted on civil or criminal warrants. They face jail time and monetary penalties for failing to pay child support.

Officials say the child support evaders on the Top Ten List were selected because they have the ability to take responsibility for their children but refuse to do so. Incarceration is the only option for parents who repeatedly ignore court orders requiring them to pay child support. The Office of the Attorney General helps parents who lack the ability to pay child support by referring them to job training and employment services.

The Attorney General's Child Support Division is directed by state and federal law to help collect child support for Texas families. The division handles more than one million cases and collected $2.78 billion in child support the fiscal year that ended Aug 31. More than $15 billion in child support has been collected during the Abbott administration.

To satisfy the Texas Family Code's requirement that certain delinquent cases be released to the public, the OAG's Most Wanted Child Support Evader list helps raise public awareness about noncustodial parents who owe more than $5,000 and are the subject of an arrest warrant. In addition, parents named to the list have failed to make child support payments during the previous six months, their locations are unknown, and they are not involved in bankruptcy proceedings or receiving welfare benefits. The parent with custody of the children must sign a confidentiality waiver before the evader can be added to the list.

A total of 104 evaders have been arrested or located since Attorney General Abbott took office in December 2002. Anyone with information about a child support evader should contact the attorney general by calling (866) EVADERS (382-3377) or e-mailing evaders@oag.state.tx.us.


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