By John Clark
A Tennessee man who has allegedly failed to pay child support for 21 years has been arrested by authorities on felony charges of grand theft against his children, according to a report from the Sacramento Bee.
Sources say 58-year-old Martin Seebach owes more than $600,000 in unpaid child support to his three children, and has refused to follow several court orders demanding that he compensate his children for their lost money.
Seebachâ€™s incredible outstanding debt represents the highest amount of child support owed by one individual in the country, according to local sources.
For his actions, Seebach was arrested this week in El Dorado for two felony counts of grand theft, as well as four misdemeanor counts of refusing to follow a court order, according to a news release from the El Dorado County District Attorneyâ€™s Office.
The father, whose children are all now adults, was booked in El Dorado County Jail, where he is being held until trial, unless he can pay his $200,000 bail.
Interestingly, Seebach has been avoiding jail for more than a decade. Sources say that prosecutors filed criminal charges against him in 2000 and 2002, but these attempts proved to be unsuccessful.
Itâ€™s not uncommon for deadbeat parents to avoid jail for a long time despite failing to pay child support, but the tactics of family courts tend to vary from state to state.
Some judges, for example, have little tolerance for unpaid child support, and if a parent fails to follow one court order, he or she could be promptly thrown in jail.
Other judges, however, take a more patient approach. One of the reasons that a judge might not want to throw a parent into jail is that the jailed parent cannot make any money behind bars, which defeats the purpose of the whole enterprise.
In recent years, as the economy took a nosedive, parents have taken extraordinary steps to avoid paying child support, including accepting payments only in cash, lying about their place of employment, and even moving to a different country.
If Seebach has avoided paying more than $600,000 in child support, itâ€™s likely that he took a wide range of evasive actions to keep his money in his own bank account.
Sources say that Seebachâ€™s obligation to pay child support started after he obtained a divorce in 1993, so the $600,000 tab represents money that should have been paid to his children over the course of 19 years.