Deadbeat dads who faked death to avoid paying child support

Deadbeat dads who faked death to avoid paying child support

In life, only two things are certain: death and taxes. Or so Benjamin Franklin claimed.

If you’re a parent paying child support in the state of Washington, there are a few other certainties in your life:

  • Child support payments should be made until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.
  • Child support payments will be based on your income.
  • A statute of limitations exists for paying back child support payments.
  • Paying child support is a legal obligation, and not meeting it means fines and/or jail time.

On the other hand, faking death involves a lot of uncertainties. It is such an intriguing undertaking that countless movies with a fake death plot have been made. Some real-life deadbeat dads seem to have been inspired by such movies. And like most fake-death movies, some are good while some are clunkers.

Deadbeat dad and proud

It’s not easy to admit being a deadbeat dad, but Mr. Johnny Martin from South Carolina was an exception. Mr. Martin was notorious for refusing to pay $4,000 in child support for his two children. He even boasted about it, which was just overkill when everybody — including the ex-wife and children he was actively not supporting — already knew that.

In 1979, a family court judge ordered Mr. Martin to pay up or face jail time. He chose jail time. While in jail, he served as an inmate worker and managed to escape while on duty. He then hatched a plan to convince the family court judge that he had died in a bar brawl, and succeeded.

A more ambitious man would have devised a more intricate plan than a bar fight, but not Mr. Martin. Nevertheless, he succeeded in being “dead” until someone discovered that he was alive and well 26 years later — a lot of years to not pay child support.

He was subsequently charged for escaping jail and dodging paying child support, and was ordered to cough up $30,000 in retroactive payments.

This deadbeat daddy worked hard to avoid paying for his children’s education, and some would say that living under the radar for 26 years undetected is admirable. His ex-wife, however, worked harder. Going off only a hunch, she alerted the sheriff’s department about rumors that her ex was still alive.

It turned out she was right. And after getting caught for his misdeeds, Mr. Martin still wouldn’t pay child support because he just didn’t want to.

The busy father

Mr. Randy Mainwaring of Florida was convicted of identity theft and bank fraud. He committed these crimes as part of his master plan to fake his own death. He was going through a high-conflict divorce and a child custody battle that involved an attempt to burn down his ex’s wife’s house and plant drugs in her car. Some might argue that he was not a very nice man.

In 2007, he set the plan in motion. His death fake-out involved placing a fake obituary in the Oregon newspaper The Register-Guard. Interestingly, it appeared that he wasn’t doing all these to avoid sending child support checks. Our guess is that he was simply a man who liked to keep himself busy. Needless to say, his attempt to fake his own death certainly did not help his child custody battle because he was arrested a month after the fake obit was published.

What’s more legally binding than a fake obituary? A fake death certificate

Another inventive (and wrong) way to get away with not paying child support and student loans is to fake one’s death certificate, as in the case of Allen Kirk Wolford from Colorado.

Mr. Wolford had wanted to apply for a home loan, but because he owed $42,000 in back child support payments and $7,000 in student loans, banks wouldn’t approve his loan application. Not getting approved for a loan because you’ve incurred huge debts under your name is quite the conundrum indeed.

Incidentally, Mr. Wolford worked as an embalmer in a funeral home, so he knows his way around cadavers, cremation, death certificates, and all things death-related. Having seen a death certificate many times in his lifetime, he forged his own death certificate so he could live a debt-free existence.

Contrary to what he hoped for, he got charged with felony forgery and got fired from his job, which were terrible news. The good news is that he’s undeniably alive.

Child support can be paid by withholding wages, but there are options to make payments, none of which involve deceiving people or the law. You can do so much better than calling a forger to deal with child support payment difficulties; you can call family law attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams instead.