A Michigan man, one of the United States’ most wanted child support “deadbeats” has just been caught in Calgary, Alberta. Joseph Stroup, who was living in Alberta under the assumed name “Joop Cousteau,” was caught by a Calgary restaurant owner when he seemed to be running a personal injury scam.
According to Global News Radio, Stroup had been a regular at the Bears Den Restaurant for several months when he ordered a cherry Coke with eight maraschino cherries. Shortly afterward, he showed the restaurant owner a cherry pit and complained that he had broken his dental work.
The next day, Stroup returned to the restaurant with some dental claim forms that appeared to have been downloaded from the internet.
“My Spidey sense was up,” says the restaurant owner. He Googled the name “Joop Cousteau” and ran across the man’s picture on a U.S. government website. It listed him as a wanted child support “deadbeat.” Later, the restaurant owner learned that “Joop Cousteau” was accused of scamming others.
He contacted U.S. authorities and received calls from the FBI, U.S. Marshalls and the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) within half an hour. The OIG runs the website of America’s most wanted “deadbeats.”
Stroup was arrested and brought to federal court in Chicago. He will be transferred to Michigan to face a 1998 federal indictment in Kalamazoo.
Stroup was never expected to pay more than $100 in child support
Stroup, 64, was divorced in 1989 and has four children. According to the OIG, he owes over $560,000 in unpaid child support. He was originally ordered to pay a paltry $100 per month.
He later told the court he was disabled and unemployed and his child support order was reduced to only $14 per month — for four children.
In 1996, the court discovered Stroup was operating an internet-based business which he eventually sold for $2 million. His child support order was modified to take that unreported income into account.
Stroup has not paid any child support since June 1996. An arrest warrant was issued after his indictment two years later.
Under Michigan law, both parents are legally required to financially support their children. If you can’t afford your child support due to a change in your circumstances such as a lost job or disability, you should immediately contact the court and ask for a modification of the order. Don’t simply ask the other parent to give you a break — you owe the full amount of your child support order as long as it is in force.