STILLWATER - A convenience store manager in Missouri owes $26,120. An over-the-road trucker owes $28,582. Both ignore orders to pay.
They should start paying attention. Both were among 21 people who were charged Tuesday with felony counts of failing to pay child support.
The felony charges were filed against 20 men and one woman for failing to make payments to help support their children in Payne and Logan counties, District Attorney Rob Hudson said.
Many were pursued for years by their spouses and child support workers trying to get them to honor their court-ordered child support payments, he said. The total amount owed exceeds $300,000.
Terry Gene Day, 41, owes the most - $83,299.
Hudson said he resorted to filing felony counts because the civil remedies were unsuccessful.
Laura Thomas, the managing attorney in Hudson's child support enforcement office, said some are crafty to avoid being served civil papers.
"Nothing's worked," she said. "We even revoked some of their drivers' licenses."
In many cases, revoking a driver's license or another type of professional license "usually works," Thomas said. State law allows authorities to revoke licenses of those who are behind in child support payments.
But these 21 have been tough, Thomas said.
"It's hard to find these people," she said. "And then when you find them, they run before you serve them."
In almost all instances the non-paying parent has a proven employment history and is capable of meeting his or her court ordered obligations but has simply chosen not to, Hudson said.
"Supporting your child is not a matter of choice. After 15 years of practicing law, it still amazes me that some parents can walk away from their responsibilities to their children," he said.
Thomas said most of them do not make any attempt to see their offspring.
"None of these people are going to be able to come in and claim, 'Gee I can't see my child, that's why I don't pay my child support,"' she said.
Ray Dean Bollinger Jr., the convenience store manager in Columbia, Mo., didn't have to worry about the threat of civil action against him, Thomas said.
Bollinger, who has used aliases of Ray Goreman and David Martin, is aware that it is hard for other jurisdictions to file civil court papers against him for failing to pay child support, she said.
But a felony charge is a different manner, Thomas said.
"I just can't wait to contact the sheriff there and tell him to go pick him up," she said. "That's what's nice about a felony is that there is an arrest warrant sitting out there."
That means that even though Oklahoma authorities don't know the whereabouts of trucker Merle Lynn Standage, he faces arrest on failing to pay child support any time he is pulled over by a law officer in any state.
Those convicted of failing to pay child support face a maximum four-year prison sentence and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
"Normally it's a form of probation and paying their current support is part of their probation," Thomas said. "Paying the judgment so much per month is part of their probation."
Those who fail to continue to make payments can be sent to prison, she said.
"The first thing we'll do in most cases is offer a probationary type sentence. Our goal is still to get the money. But then if they're working and they're employed and they still don't want to pay the money then my goal is punishment."
Others charged from Payne County and the amount owed are Dean Nelson Binford, 33, $18,710; Cecil Lynn Gazaway, 31, $17,218; Kelly Eugene Guinn, 34, $7,419; Dana Nichlaus Larson, 25, $8,951; Clyde Allen McDaniel Jr., 36, $13,755; Dennis D. Schutte, 43, $37,983; Danny James Smith, 29, $5,969; Darrell Lonnie Stewart, 48, $37,660; and Bret Eugene Tarver, 39, $12,724.
Those charged in Logan County include the only woman, Lorraine Dale Bazzell, 36. She owes $5,809.
Others from Logan County and the amounts owed are Phillip F. Boyles, 43, $15,983; Terrance Michael Furlong, 36, $3,864; Christopher D. Gilbert, 30, $6,498; Charles Edward Henderson, 46, $6,104; Donald Ross Knittle, 49, $10,222; Darrell Dean Stout, 40, $11,945; Carl Lee Vibbard, 33, $2,295; and Rance Way Wilson, 33, $7,299.
Anyone with information about any of them can call the child support enforcement office in Guthrie at (405) 624-3520 or the Stillwater office at (580) 377-7247. BIOG: NAME: UPD:Archive ID: 717446