Update: May 23, 2013: Robert Sand pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Central Islip today to two counts of failing to pay child support. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Bode, Mr. Sand owes more than $1.2 million, including interest and penalties, to three children from two failed marriages. Sand faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced in May. Mr. Sand was represented by Glenn Obedin. Click link for the the full New York Post article.

A message from the Deputy Inspector General for
Investigations, Gary Cantrell

Original publication date: December 24, 2012

Last week, Robert Sand was arrested at the Los Angeles Airport following his deportation by the Philippines. Sand, 50, was America’s “most wanted” deadbeat dad, topping the Child Support Enforcement list of the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Sand, from Nassau County, owes more than $1.2 million in support for three children of two marriages. First ordered in 1996, arrest warrants for his failure to obey support had been issued in 2000, 2002 and 2010. To evade his child support obligations, Sand fled from New York to Florida and then to Thailand where he was arrested on passport and breach of contract charges. A Federal indictment had been issued for Sand in 2009 on two charges of failure to pay child support.

Among the rulings involving Sand, a 2002 decision of the Appellate Division Second Department, in Sand v. Sand, 290 A.D.2d 451, 736 N.Y.S.2d 102, affirmed Nassau County Family Court Hearing Examiner Patricia Watson’s denial of an application by Sand for a downward modification of his support obligations. Instead Hearing Examiner (now Support Magistrate) Watson awarded Sand’s former wife a judgment for $151,381.98 in support arrears. Sand had testified that, although he failed to make his required payments of $1,000 per week, he had no assets or bank account, he owed large debts, and he was only earning $900 per week. However, after examining the lifestyle led by Sand with his new wife, his prior experience and earnings in cash businesses, and other evidence including unfiled tax return documents, Hearing Examiner Watson determined that the father’s testimony lacked credibility.

Although most child support cases fall under State jurisdiction, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) plays an important role in aggressively pursuing parents who fail to pay court-ordered child support.

 The OIG website reports that the agency may intervene in child support cases when:
  • the noncustodial parent willfully fails to pay child support for more than 1 year and the State where the child lives is different from the State where the noncustodial parent lives,
  • the amount the noncustodial parent owes is more than $5,000 and the State where the child lives is different from the State where the noncustodial parent lives, or
  • the noncustodial parent travels to another State or country to avoid paying child support.

Punishment for a first offense for failure to pay child support is a fine, up to 6 months in prison, or both. In the case of a second or subsequent offense or a case when the obligation has been unpaid for longer than 2 years or is more than $10,000, the punishment increases to a fine of up to $250,000, 2 years in prison, or both. Noncustodial parents convicted of these offenses must also pay restitution and/or settlements of the child support amount owed.

“Project Save Our Children” is a multiagency law enforcement initiative that investigates and prosecutes the most egregious child support cases. Its members include investigative analysts from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), OIG Special Agents, the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Attorneys’ offices, and the Department of Justice, along with child support agencies across the United States. These entities identify, investigate, and prosecute noncustodial parents who knowingly fail to pay support obligations and meet the criteria for Federal prosecution under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act.

Deadbeats can be reported using OIG’s “Report A Fugitive” form.