AUSTIN – Child Support Evader Dr. David Z. Martin, 55, has been arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport for failing to pay thousands of dollars in child support to his family in Texas. Police officials with the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, which runs the airport, arrested Dr. Martin pursuant to a felony arrest warrant as he exited a flight from Oman. The warrant stems from criminal nonsupport charges that were filed by authorities in Carson County, Texas, in 1998.
"This arrest stems from the defendant's failure to make court-ordered child support payments for over a decade," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said. "Though he attempted to avoid his obligation by traveling internationally, authorities were able to hold him accountable. We are grateful to officials in Carson County, Texas, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for their assistance with this case."
Dr. Martin was added to the most wanted Child Support Evader list in 2002. Since then, state investigators have pursued multiple leads in an effort to locate him. Some reports indicated he fled to Costa Rica to avoid his child support obligation. Other sources indicated he was located in a very warm climate and working with horses.
Early this month, U.S. law enforcement officials in Oman reported that Dr. Martin was arrested and detained for illegally entering the country after he failed to produce a valid passport. Under federal law, parents who owe more than $2,500 in court-ordered child support are unable to obtain or renew passports.
Before Dr. Martin and the children's mother divorced in 1991, he ran a chiropractic clinic. Under the couple's divorce decree, Dr. Martin was ordered to make child support payments of $3,500 a month for his two children's care. However, the defendant did not make a single payment. In 1997, a Carson County judge found that Dr. Martin owed more than $150,000 in unpaid child support. The judge reduced Dr. Martin's monthly payment to $1,500 and ordered him to make a one-time payment of $1,000, which he failed to do.
A year later, a Carson County grand jury indicted Dr. Martin for criminal nonsupport and an arrest warrant was issued. The defendant's missed payments coupled with the statutorily-mandated interest that accrues on unpaid child support totals $420,498.
Dr. Martin remains in custody at the Vernon C. Bain Center in New York City, where he is awaiting extradition to Carson County. If he is convicted of felony criminal nonsupport, Dr. Martin faces up to two years in a state jail facility and a fine of up to a $10,000.
Parents can avoid jail by paying child support in full and on time. When parents cannot comply with their child support order due to loss of employment or other financial hardship, they should immediately contact the local child support office to inform the agency about their changed financial condition.
Under state and federal law, the Office of the Attorney General can assist families who request child support services and must serve families who receive public assistance. Services offered by the Child Support Division include locating absent parents; establishing paternity for children born to unmarried parents; establishing, enforcing and modifying child and medical support orders; and collecting and distributing child support payments.