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Some evidence of illicit and potentially criminal behavior at the Michigan Friend of the Court

Doug Dante DougDante1@yahoo.com Updated: September 8, 2011 Previous: June 4, 2011 I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. Evidence of illicit and potentially criminal behavior at the Michigan Friend of the Court includes, but is not limited to, the following: * FOC workers have and continue to make access to child support information difficult, and this may have enabled embezzlement of child support funds, particularly payments often made in cash, such as the ongoing criminal case of an FOC worker who allegedly stole child support paid in cash in Muskegon county (http://bit.ly/crN3LZ) One woman claimed that the FOC appears to have taken over $2,000 paid by her ex-husband for her child (http://bit.ly/jucqjU) One mother said she has been unable to correct a clerical error and the FOC is taking two thirds of her pay, while she is raising her child (http://bit.ly/iWyypk) A father thinks that they may have stolen $1,800 from his child (http://bit.ly/lzmEJr) Another claims that the FOC has taken over $20,000 from a parent over 4 years (http://bit.ly/j4TGZk). There are many other examples (http://bit.ly/mOVpQn). People at the FOC may engage in strategies of "diffusion of responsibility" and "strategic incompetence" to hide these potential crimes. Possible crimes include wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy, and honest services fraud (18 U.S.C. Chapter 63 - all sections) . If the proceeds are being used for other purposes, then Money Laundering (18 USC § 956) might be involved to disguise stolen child support. See also (scr.bi/gAwo0p) * FOC workers may knowingly engage in behavior that harms children and parents, because they are pressured to maximize Title IV-D funding at all costs. Former FOC enforcement specialist Carol Rhodes explained: "I came to the 32nd circuit family court to make a difference, ... but early on I realized ... it was all about money ... My director would say regularly, 'We aren't the friend of the family, we're the Friend of the Court!' ... In the years I worked for the system I witnessed regular deception to clients that was mandated by office policy. I saw gender bias and discrimination. I saw records destroyed. ... I saw hundreds of pleas for parenting time or enforcement get buried because there is no money in enforcing custody or visitation issues. ... We were rated according to how much money we would bring in" ( http://bit.ly/mzCY2iv) See also Title IV-D financial conflicts of interest (http://scr.bi/boP4P8) Crimes involved may include Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242) * The FOC may manipulate records and calendars in a way that appears arbitrary and unfair, and which may lead a reasonable person to believe that they were attempting to tamper with witnesses (18 USC § 1512), destroy or alter evidence (18 USC § 1506), retaliate against witnesses (18 USC § 1513), or otherwise to obstruct justice. One man claimed they canceled over 20 dates until he was unable to make it and then rushed through a default judgment against him (http://bit.ly/mfdtPS). Another parent says that FOC is keeping court records away from the courts in violation of state law and that it enables

"sleazy schemes" (http://bit.ly/m0vZ9B) These may amount to similar crimes of fraud. One mother wrote, "I had transcript of trial, and it was changed. Several things were taken out, including the fact that I was taken into custody at the judge's orders [after attempting to provide evidence]. I believe the hearings will be sanitized also." (Private FRC@yahoogroups.com message, May, 9, 2011) Court rules requiring contemporaneous recordings often appear to be ignored, which may promote criminal activities. (http://scr.bi/e5krrB) Crimes involved may include Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC § 241), and Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242) Destruction of transcripts and other acts may be prohibited Concealment, Removal, or Mutilation Generally (18 USC § 2071) * Evidence of possible widespread fraud in the calculation of child support at the Friend of the Court include its own 2008 Michigan Child Support Formula Training which said that that they were stopping the practice of automatic imputation, which looks like it violated both state law and Michigan appellate precedents ("2008 Changes to the Michigan Child Support Formula" not available online, also http://scr.bi/c8vww4, page 17), illicit use of FOC Form 10 which is used to obtain an "agreement" from parents while preventing them from examining the way in which child support is computed, evidence of fraudulent manipulation of the child support calculations by falsifying the income of the recipient and paying parent, (ibid, other pages). A child support specialist may have admitted a pattern of fraud when she was reported to have testified in court in a manner that led a witness to write: "She also went on to say a great deal more that proves that FOC is putting thier (sic) thumb on the scale." (members only FRC at yahoogroups dot com e-mail list, Feb 21, 2008). FOC workers also sometimes appear to assist and abet the fraud of parents who receive child support but hide their own income from the court, harming children whose best interests are served by accurate calculations of support (see scribd ibid) These may amount to honest services fraud, tampering with evidence, and obstruction of justice. Crimes may include Honest Services Fraud (18 U.S.C. Chapter 63 - all sections), Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC § 241), and Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242) * FOC workers and others may be misusing federal tax dollars intended to collect child support for children to establish a secondary income stream which prioritizes income for the FOC itself and payments for persons associated with the court over money owed to children (http://scr.bi/bkFeYQ pg 10-11). The appearance of using two different books and two different garnishment orders may be part of a larger attempt to obstruct a federal audit (18 USC § 1516), by providing only partial information on the actual activities of FOC workers to federal auditors. This may also be Misusing Public Funds (18 USC § 648) intended to help children for the benefit of lawyers and other court ordered service providers. To me, federal law prohibits the FOC from using federal taxpayer money to act as a collection agency for their services. * Some FOC workers appear to violate Michigan's Child Custody Act (MCL 722.23), ignore the best interests of the child as defined by law, instead base the living arrangements children exclusively on their own and governmental financial interests. For example, if one parent receives welfare benefits or owes the state money, the other is never allowed to share custody, so the state can collect its money from the child. One statistical analysis found that African American fathers were no more than 3/5ths as likely to receive significant time with their children when compared with White Non-Hispanic fathers, perhaps due to income differences. (http://scr.bi/cFmnrm), or possibly due to racial discrimination. (See also scr.bi/cFmnrm) Crimes may include Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC § 241), and Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242) * FOC workers may illicitly coordinate activities or potential violations of law. They may select LGALs, parenting time coordinators, and other specialists by using "preferred lists" of professionals who are knowingly biased, who charge several times market rates for services, etc to hamper parent's

attempts to maintain relationships with their children via court orders (scribd ibid). Crimes may include Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC § 241), and Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242) (See also scr.bi/erufgJ ) * FOC workers may intentionally or unintentionally confuse parents through obscure and incorrect local procedures. Muskegon FOC workers have stuck parents with a confusing and incorrect phone system, reported wzzm13.com (1/13/2011) (http://bit.ly/iJAGbY) Crimes may include Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC § 241), and Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242) * The 2008 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual includes a "difference of cubes" parenting time offset calculation, which increases support transfer payments, but often provides one parent as much as 10x the other per each night the child spends in their home. This does not appear to me to be calculated based on the needs of the children as required by federal law. (see scribd ibid) One father says he has his daughter 40% of the time and the 55% the FOC is taking from his paycheck makes it "virtually impossible" for him to care for his child the way she deserves (http://bit.ly/jSaNir) If the welfare of children and there parents were intentionally compromized to maximize the income of others, crimes involved may include Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC § 241), and Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242) * FOC workers may also act in a sexist manner, and refuse to provide men, fathers, and even boys access to services for child custody determination, child support enforcement, parenting time enforcement, or assistance for victims of domestic violence (MCL 400.1501). One father and police officer claims to have raised his children from birth almost to adulthood without getting the FOC to establish a support order from their mother. (http://bit.ly/iBqco4) Another dad says that he raised his child who's now an adult and the FOC has jailed him for failing to send child support to the mother who did not raise him (http://bit.ly/j4TGZk) One dad reported that "When my daughter was abandoned by her Mom so mom could go on a three week crack fueled odyssey FOC and CPS gave her the kids back" and suggested that a FOC investigator endangered his daughter in exchange for sex with mom. (http://bit.ly/iFO3Zi) Discrimination based on gender in government services funded by federal tax dollars may be a federal felonies under both 42 U.S.C. § 3789d(c)(1) and 18 USC § 241. Crimes may also include Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC § 241), Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242), and Michigan Constitution, Article I, Section 26, Paragraph 2 * FOC workers may decline to enforce laws when one parent is out of state, perhaps because the federal revenue sharing means that there is less money available for the local office. One parent complains of effectively no cross-state enforcement support (http://bit.ly/kJzenf). Because Title IV-D mandates that services be provides regardless of where the parents reside, this may be federal program fraud. * FOC workers may be engaged in taxpayer funded lobbying via the Friend of the Court Association. ( bit.ly/q026Uj). It is my understanding that the association is funded through “dues” payed by taxpayer dollars from local Friend of the Court offices. The Friend of the Court Association has a registered lobbyist (http://bit.ly/rgDAd2) whose registration suggests that such activities operate directly from the Friend of the Court Offices. See also (http://scr.bi/gdSNiG), suggesting that such lobbying activities may be done during federally funded time. This may be prohibited Lobbying with Appropriated Moneys (18 USC § 1913) * FOC workers also appears to defraud unwed fathers and mothers by lying to them and claiming that they need a lawyer in order to secure parenting time to see their child, when the law stipulates that they

must make available forms for use without a lawyer (MCL 552.519), including "Motion Regarding Custody (foc87.pdf)", or to refuse to honor their obligations to assist the parent in acquiring parenting time in specific terms (MCL 722.27a). (See message to the FRC at yahoogroups dot com group on January 9, 2011. See also response on January 10). It has also been reported that FOC workers may make these and other false statements that parents require a lawyer when they legally are obliged to make available forms and give help over the telephone. Crimes involved may include include wire fraud and honest services fraud (18 U.S.C. Chapter 63 – various sections), Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC § 241), and Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242). This apparent fraud may sometimes be gender specific. If so this potential fraud may also be a federal felony under both (42 U.S.C. § 3789d(c)(1)) and (18 USC § 241), and Michigan Constitution, Article I, Section 26, Paragraph 2 * FOC workers may threaten parents with or otherwise be involved in de facto imprisonment for debt. Please see “Evidence of De Facto Imprisonment for Debt in Michigan” (scr.bi/jMNK8g). These actions may violate Michigan's Constitution Article 1 Section 21 as well as MCL 552.631 and 552.633 and may constitute Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC § 242).