Parents duped by Child Support collection agency

FOX 5 I-Team

Parents duped by Child Support collection agency

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

A big development for Georgia parents ripped off by a child support collection agency. The man at the helm as pleaded guilty in federal court. For years parents complained that money they paid to take care of their children often didn't make it to them. Instead, court documents show their hard-earned money went to the company's key players "to lease homes, cars and boats."

This now shutdown private child support collections agency just outside of Valdosta, according to federal prosecutors, was able to reach into the pockets of metro Atlanta parents taking $2.3 million dollars by defrauding parents.

"This was a horrendous, horrific, extremely pervasive, and widespread criminal ring," said John Sours from the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection. His agency launched the original investigation almost six years ago.

"They were living high on the hog, certainly higher than the people they were taking it from, or the people they should have been providing it to. You know the typical situation: fancy homes, boats, cars."

Stuart Cole pleaded guilty in federal court January 13, 2014 to "conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud" and "money laundering." Investigators say his agency went by as many as 14 different names - names like Child Support Services of Georgia and Atlanta.

Brandie Solis told the I-Team in 2008 she thought after a call to Child Support Services of Georgia, a number she found in the phonebook, that she was dealing with a state agency.

This struggling single mother said, "I told them that's who I was looking for and he told me, ‘we're the ones here. That's what we're here for to get child support to the children'."

Instead like many others, she complained to the state that the baby's father was sending money but that she wasn't getting much.

"They would come but sporadically. I think three weeks they came when I could go to my mailbox on Monday and know that it would be there," she said frustrated.

Investigators told us the scheme included illegally threatening parents to get them into contracts.

Back in 2008 James Leverette told the I-Team, this private child support collections company threatened him.

"Either they could suspend my license, or basically, the main thing they told me, they would garnish my wages."

In fact, even before the company shuttered its doors, a Gwinnett County judge started telling clients who'd been hauled into court by Child Support Services to tear up what he considered fraudulent contracts.

From the bench Judge James Oxendine used harsh words, "They are nothing but bloodsuckers out of people who do not understand the law."

Mr. Cole is scheduled to be sentenced April 28th. He could face 40 years in prison with a $750,000 fine. A business partner is also expected to plead guilty. A spokeswoman with the US Attorney's office says the judge will decide if parents can expect some sort refund for money they paid but never got back.

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • Get Financially Fit: A Step-By-Step Plan

    Get Financially Fit: A Step-By-Step Plan

    Monday, April 14 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-04-14 13:15:13 GMT
    April is Financial Literacy Month, so it's time to think about getting financially fit.  Let's start with two questions. Do you know how much you spend each month?  How much of your check should you save?
    April is Financial Literacy Month, so it's time to think about getting financially fit.  Let's start with two questions:  Do you know how much you spend each month?  How much of your check should you save?
  • FOX 5 I-Team

    DON'T MISS: Tax Deductions and Credits

    DON'T MISS: Tax Deductions and Credits

    Friday, April 11 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-04-11 12:48:55 GMT
    Let's finish up our tax time filing tips that we've offered this season with a quick look at deductions and credits too many folks forget.
    Let's finish up our tax time filing tips that we've offered this season with a quick look at deductions and credits too many folks forget.
  • FOX 5 I-Team

    IRS: Two Scam Warnings

    IRS: Two Scam Warnings

    Monday, April 7 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-04-07 14:44:51 GMT
    We have two warnings coming from the IRS.  The first one is what investigators call the "largest ever" phone fraud scam targeting taxpayers.
    We have two warnings coming from the IRS.  The first one is what investigators call the "largest ever" phone fraud scam targeting taxpayers.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Improve your commute with the "One Bus Away" app

    Improve your commute with the "One Bus Away" app

    Thursday, April 17 2014 9:03 AM EDT2014-04-17 13:03:23 GMT
    Don't you hate when you're waiting for mass transit and have no idea when that train or bus will show up? Now, there's an app for that and it's saving people time and money.
    Don't you hate when you're waiting for mass transit and have no idea when that train or bus will show up? Now, there's an app for that and it's saving people time and money.
  • Brewery Celebrates The "Sweet" Life At 420 Fest

    Brewery Celebrates The "Sweet" Life At 420 Fest

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:45:46 GMT
    A new venue and a major headlining band are set to make this year's 10th Annual SweetWater 420 Fest the biggest yet.
    A new venue and a major headlining band are set to make this year's 10th Annual SweetWater 420 Fest the biggest yet.
  • FOX Medical Team

    Eat for the Test!

    Eat for the Test!

    Thursday, April 17 2014 7:48 AM EDT2014-04-17 11:48:58 GMT
    If you want your student to test well, Cheryl Williams, a registered dietitian with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta says breakfast is the most important meal.
    If you want your student to test well, Cheryl Williams, a registered dietitian with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta says breakfast is the most important meal.
Powered by WorldNow

KTBC FOX 7
119 East 10th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 476-7777
Fax: (512) 495-7001

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices