U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
February 2, 2012
Former R.I. Resident Sought for Allegedly Failing to Pay
Nearly $300,000 in Child Support Payments in R.I. Detained in Michigan on R.I. Federal Charge
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A former Rhode Island man has been ordered detained in Michigan on a federal charge of failure to pay child support in Rhode Island brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Rhode Island. Stephen J. Swallow, 47, of Buckley, Michigan, was arrested on Wednesday by federal agents from the Detroit field office of the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on an arrest warrant issued by the U.S. District Court in Providence. It is alleged that Swallow owes nearly $300,000 in back child support payments for his four children dating back to March 1999, as ordered by the Rhode Island Family Court.
The arrest and detention of Swallow was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Susan J. Waddell, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations; and Sharon Santilli, Child Support Director for the State of Rhode Island Department of Human Services, Office of Child Support Services.
According to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed with the U.S. District Court, in March 1999, Swallow was ordered by the Rhode Island Family Court to pay child support in the amount of $316 per week, for his four children. In June 1999, that amount was modified to $330 per week through garnishment of wages.
According to the affidavit, in October 1999 the Family Court found Swallow, who had relocated to Michigan, to be in willful contempt in failing to pay the court ordered child support obligation. According to the affidavit, it is alleged that Swallow has held several jobs in Michigan and one in Florida. The affidavit alleges that Swallow made two child support payments in 1999 through wage garnishments; one administrative offset (an involuntary payment) in 2001; and that Swallow did not make any further child support obligation payments until June 2, 2008 through July 19, 2010, by means of garnishment of his wages. The total recovered from these efforts was $21,915.71.
R.I. Gen. Laws require obligated parents to notify the R.I. Department of Human Services when they change residence and employment. According to the affidavit, the R.I. Department of Human Services has no record of Swallow providing notice of any change of address or employment. The affidavit alleges that documentary evidence shows a continued pattern of changes of residence and employers without a corresponding notification to the State of Rhode Island or any attempt to comply with or meet the child support obligations.
Swallow made an initial appearance in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Michigan on Wednesday and was ordered detained by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Ellen S. Carmody. A detention and probable cause hearing is scheduled to be held on Monday, February 6, 2012.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted in Rhode Island by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis M. Matos. The matter was investigated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General - Office of Investigations, with the assistance of the State of Rhode Island Department of Human Services, Office of Child Support Services.