Tony Knowles
Governor
P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0001

State of Alaska
Department of Revenue

Wilson Condon

Commissioner

NEWS RELEASE

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907-465-2300
FAX: 907-465-2389

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 1999 99-113

STATE FILES CRIMINAL CHARGES IN

CHILD SUPPORT CASES

The state has filed criminal charges against four people in two separate child support cases, bringing to a dozen the number of people charged in child support cases in the past year.

"We donít like to refer cases for criminal prosecution but people must realize they have a financial, legal and moral obligation to their children, and the state will enforce the law," said Barbara Miklos, director of the Child Support Enforcement Division.

The latest cases include charges against two people for allegedly helping parents avoid child support payments. "Itís the first time anyone can remember that weíve brought criminal charges against a person for aiding in the nonpayment of child support," said John Main, chief of the investigations section at the Alaska Child Support Enforcement Division. "Itís a message that not only is it illegal to avoid child support payments, itís also illegal to help someone evade their obligation to their children."

Charged in the two cases are:

  • Albert Yazzie, 39, of Barrow, was indicted May 20 on one count of scheming to defraud to avoid his child support obligation. The felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Yazzie also was charged with three misdemeanors for criminal nonsupport; each charge is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Louise Rexford, 23, of Barrow, was indicted May 20 on one count of scheming to defraud for allegedly helping Yazzie evade his child support obligation. If convicted, the felony charge carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and a $50,000 fine. Rexford also was charged with aiding the nonpayment of child support, a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The state alleges that Yazzie sold his drywall business to Rexford for $100 in August 1996 to prevent the child support agency from garnisheeing the companyís income for his child support debt. As an employee of the company, instead of the owner, only a portion of his wages could be garnisheed. The agency, however, received no payments from the company toward Yazzieís child support accounts after December 1996. As of June 1 of this year, he owed more than $108,000 for four children in three different cases.

Yazzie and Rexford are scheduled for arraignment Wednesday in Barrow.

  • Thomas R. Comoza, 41, of Anchorage, was charged with one count of misdemeanor criminal nonsupport and faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. As of June 1, he owed more than $22,000; he has not made a payment since August 1997.
  • Arthur E. Johnson, 45, of Anchorage, was charged with one count of misdemeanor aiding the nonpayment of child support and faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The state alleges that Comoza worked for Johnsonís roofing business in 1998 but that Johnson intentionally withheld information from child support enforcement officers to help Comoza evade his obligation. The criminal complaint alleges Johnson was aware of Comozaís child support order but failed to withhold money from his wages.

Comoza and Johnson have pleaded not guilty, with further court proceedings scheduled for July 7 in Anchorage.

Note: The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.