KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former Kansas City, Mo., man who has been living in Thailand pleaded guilty in federal court to fleeing the United States in 2007 to avoid paying child support.
Randy Lee Essary, 60, of Springfield, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. Essary was a resident of Chon Buri, Thailand, where he was employed as the senior vice president of development for Eclipse Hotels and Development, which is based in Manila, Philippines and in Hong Kong.
By pleading guilty, Essary admitted that he has failed to pay any court-ordered child support for his son for more than eight years, since January 2005. Essary owes $164,891 in child support.
Essary was a resident of Missouri in 1996. On Feb. 9, 1996, the Jackson County Circuit Court ordered him to pay $1,500 in monthly child support payments for his son, who currently resides with his mother in Utah.
Essary’s last documented entry into the United States and exit thereafter was on Sept. 12, 2007, to attend his daughter’s wedding in Illinois. Essary did not fly directly into the United States for the wedding. Instead, Essary flew from Thailand or the Philippines to Canada. Border crossing records confirm Essary then walked across the border from Canada into the United States at Blaine, Wash. He returned to Thailand in the same manner – by walking across the border at Canada and flying back to Thailand.
Essary was arrested at LAX airport when he returned to the United States on Feb. 22, 2012.
Under federal statutes, Essary is subject to a sentence of up to two years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
Project Save Our ChildrenProject 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 Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), 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. More information about federal child support enforcement is available at http://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/child-support-enforcement/