Chautauqua County is getting tougher on deadbeat parents, and published a list Friday of some of its most significant offenders.
The county's Social Services Department issued the list of parents who owe substantial sums in child support. Assistant County Attorney Betsey Steger said a key problem is that many of those people get paid under the table for work they are not reporting.
"We have a large number of people we believe are working under the table, and apparently a number of employers who are willing to employ them that way. What we are doing is asking the public to help our efforts to enforce child support. When someone fails to support their children, the responsibility falls on all of us, not just the custodial parent," Ms. Steger said.
The county is hoping residents may turn in some of the deadbeats who are collecting unreported incomes.
Among the top listed deadbeats are Ronald Crowell, 49, of Forestville, and Keith VanKoughnet, 40, of Fredonia. Each owes child support of over $50,000.
David Rose, 27, whose address is unknown, and John E. Sample, 25, of Randolph each owe support in excess of $30,000.
Owing over $15,000 in support are Evan Parkhurst, 40, of Panama and John Garverick, 45, of Bemus Point.
Listed as owing more than $10,000 are James Seavy, 33, of Brocton; Calyton Hough, 39, of Jamestown; Ricardo Diaz, 38, of Dunkirk; Lyle E. Parker Jr., 44, of Celoron; and William Kimmel, 37, of Jamestown.
Ms. Steger said welfare reform is making child support payments more important now than ever.
"We have a substantial number of mothers or custodial parents receiving welfare benefits who are going to face time limits. So it is more and more critical to increase their child support and be able to collect child support in order to help them become independent and move off the welfare rolls," she said.
In addition, Ms. Steger said the county could take other actions against deadbeat parents, including revoking their drivers' or professional licenses, and keeping them from getting recreational licenses such as those for hunting or fishing. Liens also will be filed against real property and motor vehicles, and computer matches will track down bank accounts.