Col. Scott Carlson, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was arrested and convicted for paternity fraud when he tried to falsify paternity testing, according to The Patriot-News. When the 53-year-old man was a student at the Army War College, a Virginia woman sought to increase the private child support payments he was making for the couple's daughter by going to court.
Carlson went to court and denied paternity. He was told he must submit a DNA sample to prove that he was not the father of the now 10-year-old girl. In an effort to defraud the paternity test, Carlson convinced his Army buddy, who was also a student at the War College, to pose as him and take the DNA test.
His friend showed up to take the DNA sample with Carlson’s drivers license. Authorities didn’t initially notice the difference; however, after the friend left, employees talked amongst themselves and decided that the man didn't look the same as before, according to the news report.
That kicked off an investigation that exposed the paternity fraud. When the friend submitted the DNA sample, he was required to give a fingerprint. Investigators compared that fingerprint to Carlson’s fingerprint, which had been required by the military. When the two didn’t match, the investigators confronted the friend with the evidence, who offered a total confession.
A county jury eventually convicted Carlson and his friend on multiple fraud charges. According to the news report, officials said Carlson cheated the test in an effort to hide the situation from his wife and kids in Pennsylvania.
After the fraud fiasco, Carlson is attempting to reduce his court-ordered child support payments for his daughter, saying he makes less than half of what he made on active duty. He paid $991 a month over the last year. The district attorney and domestic relations counsel said Carlson would get the same chance to make his case as any other parent seeking a child support cut, but said he will "fight a decrease," according to the newspaper.
When authorities set a monthly child support amount, they consider not only a person’s current income but also a person’s earning capacity. Chances are that authorities won’t be happy to hear that he had a buddy take a paternity test for him in an attempt to avoid responsibility, which could indirectly affect his plea for a reduction.
The definition of paternity fraud is generally viewed as the knowing act of falsely naming a man to be the biological father of a child; however, as you can see in this case, paternity fraud can also involve the father falsifying his paternity test.
Paternity fraud certainly has consequences in whichever form it manifests, such as the legal charges of:
These criminal charges could lead to substantial fines and potential jail time. Let’s also not forget the emotional and psychological consequences of paternity fraud. All people involved—especially the child who’s caught in the middle—wind up being deprived of the truth and the opportunity for family relationships.