Man guilty of not paying child support

Posted Oct. 05, 2009, at 8:04 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A federal jury has found a Florida man guilty of refusing to pay more than $30,000 in child support to his now 19-year-old daughter in Maine.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated less than an hour on Friday after four days of testimony in the trial of David C. Carlson, 57, of Venice, Fla., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Jurors found that he has not made a single child support payment since the divorce in 2004.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Carlson faces up to two years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and is expected to be ordered to pay the $34,074 he owes in back child support.

He remains free on $50,000 secured bail. His current wife posted bail using her Florida home as security.

“This is a case that ended tragically for all involved,” Carlson’s attorney, Michael Whipple of Portland, said Monday in an e-mail. “There are no winners here. We are hopeful the court will structure a settlement that leaves Mr. Carlson in a position to pay his child support. Otherwise, this case and the conviction will have no purpose to the family or society generally.”

Carlson was prosecuted under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act passed by Congress in 1998, according to court documents.

The case was tried in U.S. District Court rather than state court because Carlson lives outside Maine; his ex-wife and daughter live in the state. It also was handled in federal court because the amount he owes in back child support is more than $10,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case.

Carlson was indicted in September 2008 by a federal grand jury in Bangor. After a warrant was issued, he was arrested in Florida. He made an initial court appearance in Florida, where he was informed of the charge against him and posted bail. The next month in Maine, he pleaded not guilty to the charge of willful failure to pay child support.

An engineer, Carlson and his ex-wife were married in Massachusetts in 1982, according to court documents. He moved to Maine in 1987, his wife followed in 1989, and their daughter was born in 1990. The family lived in Caribou, according to court documents.

His wife filed for divorce in October 2001 in Aroostook County, according to documents filed in federal court. Carlson filed a financial statement as part of the divorce proceedings stating that he earned nearly $57,000 in 2000 and listed assets in excess of $600,000, including real estate, vehicles, personal property and retire-ment accounts.

Despite a court order not to dispose of marital assets, Carlson in 2003 withdrew more than $100,000 from one of the retirement accounts and deposited it out of state in the name of the woman who is now his wife, according to court documents. He has used that money to live on in Florida for the past six years, the prosecution argued at trial.

In January 2004, Maine District Court Judge Ronald Daigle ordered Carlson to pay $132 a week in child support and $11,682 in back child support retroactive to when the divorce petition was filed. He never made one payment, according to court documents.

He also, according to court documents, no longer owns any property in his name and took other steps to hide his assets.

Carlson’s attorney argued at trial that his client has no assets, no income and significant health problems that keep him from working as an engineer. Carlson is employed in Florida at a discount department store for minimum wage, according to court documents, and cares full time for his elderly mother, who lives in Venice, Fla.

His current wife, whom Carlson married in 2003 before his divorce was final, according to the prosecution, owns a home in North Port, Fla., about 15 miles south of Venice, Fla.

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