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18 Arrested Over Child Support Payments in Pennsylvania

Raising children is always expensive — there’s simply no way around that. In the case of a divorce, while the marriage may have ended, the parents’ financial obligations to the child have not. Paying child support is mandated by federal law, and in fact, under Section 228 of Title 18, in the vast majority of scenarios, it is illegal for anyone to deliberately sidestep making child support payments. In a clear summary provided by the United States Department of Justice, “An individual is subject to federal prosecution if he or she willfully fails to pay child support that has been ordered by a court,” provided the amount exceeds a certain threshold — which is exactly what happened in the cases of 18 Pennsylvanians this week.

18 Parents Behind on Child Support Payments in Pennsylvania

Montgomery County Sheriff Eileen Behr is no stranger to enforcing child support laws. Back in the summer of this year, she ordered 2013’s first sweep, with the goal of netting parents across Pennsylvania who were behind on their child support payments. At the conclusion of that sweep, Behr offered amnesty to the individuals who had been caught, providing an escape from jail time in exchange for the parents making — and sticking to — a payment plan. This time around, the temperatures were cooler — and so was Behr’s attitude. In a statement from her office, “These defendants had already had a chance to resolve their issues,” and no amnesty was offered.

The sweep had a high success rate. Of the 37 individuals Behr was pursuing, 18 were captured, including some who had successfully evaded law enforcement in the past, like Anthony Garrity of Lansdale — who owed over $25,000. Working closely with the Bucks County Sheriff Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff Department sent out a fan of 22 deputies to comb not just one town, but many, including Lansdale, Hatfield, North Wales, Collegeville, Norristown, and Willow Grove.

Child Custody 2 - 18 Arrested Over Child Support Payments in Pennsylvania

Over $180,000 Collectively Owed for Child Support Payments

Under federal law, the threshold past which failure to pay child support becomes criminal is $5,000. Most of the parents netted in Behr’s late-night (or early-morning) sweep, which ran over five hours from approximately 1:30 A.M. until 6:30 A.M., owed two, three, or even five times that amount. Garrity was far from the only parent with a steep debt to pay — Kathleen Johns of Hatfield, for example, owed about $20,000, as did Allen Vanmatre of Souderton. One man in Ardmore owed as much as $37,000. Even at the “low” end of the scale, Andrew DeCarlo of Colmar owes just over $5,000.

Together, the 18 parents — 14 men and four women — owe about $180,000.

While the sweep was a success, there are still child support criminals who haven’t been taken into custody. Rebecca Colantuno, who works as the assistant director at the Domestic Relations Office’s law enforcement unit, estimates that there are as many as 15,000 delinquent child support cases in Pennsylvania. But, for the time being, 25 children between 18 parents are $180,000 better off than they had been. In the words of Deputy Joanne Plasterer, “It was a good night for us.”

Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers Offering Free Consultations

If you or someone you love is in need of a criminal defense attorney, call the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania, or contact us online.



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Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)

Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.


Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)

Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.


Commonwealth v. "S"

Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.


State of New Jersey v. "H"

Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.


We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.

As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.