Casino Interception program working for LA Child Support Office
July 15, 2014 at 2:46 AM CDT - Updated July 21 at 12:10 AM
In many cases, it's an ongoing battle for the State of Louisiana to collect back-owed child support. Local Child Support Enforcement Manager Wendy Daigle says every day is a challenge to collect money. According to Daigle, they have more than 14,000 cases in Calcasieu, Cameron, Beauregard, and Jeff Davis Parishes.
"Our greatest tool for collecting child support is through a wage withholding - through an employer," explained Daigle.
Since September 2011, the gaming industry has been their ally. A database screens the names of those who win more than $1,200. If they owe child support, their winnings go directly to their debt. As of May 2014 -- they've intercepted nearly 1,500 winnings and collected $1.93-million.
"There's many times when we are able to intercept a lottery winning and apply everything the person has won to the support debt on the case. So, they walk out of the casino with no money left." said Daigle.
19 state-licensed casinos in Louisiana participate in the casino intercept program, including L'auberge and Isle of Capri. The total intercepted at the two casinos is $209,075.
For the families who rely on this money, Daigle said the struggle is real.
"They may have several children in the household and they are using their best efforts to try and support that child solely. We feel that it is our job... It's a very important job that we do the very best we can to collect current child support and arrearage owed. And get the money back into the household back to the custodial parent as soon as we possible can," said Daigle.
Daigle said they'll continue to use all their tools and resources and adds if bets are made, "Hopefully, they win big."
The largest single collection to date came from the Amelia Belle in December 2012 in the amount of $23,298.42.
Casino interceptions are just one way the Child Support Office works to ensure that non-custodial parents pay child support arrears. Failure to pay court-ordered child support can result in liens against property, seizure of assets, suspension of driver's, business, professional, hunting or fishing licenses, interception of state and federal income tax returns, passport denial and contempt of court charges.