Unpaid alimony leads to discovery of fraud against NFL player

When an individual falls behind on spousal support or child support, it's not always intentional. An example is found in the case of Robert Meachem, former NFL player. Some Florida readers may recall that Meachem spent a few days in jail for unpaid alimony and child support, but that incident led to the discovery that he was the victim of fraud. 

Meachem's former wife reported the player for unpaid alimony and child support in the amount of nearly $400,000. When asked to explain those missed payments, Meachem stated that he was not directly involved in managing his finances. When investigators looked into his accounts, they discovered that Meachem was a victim of fraud. 

The player hired a woman to manage his money while he was still playing for the New Orleans Saints. At one point in his career, he signed a contract for $14 million. The woman he hired claimed to be a sports attorney, although there is no evidence that she has a background in law or a license to practice. 

She began removing funds from Meachem's accounts, at one point having his paychecks delivered directly to her office. She also used some of his money to purchase real estate, and directed rent from that property back to her own company. As a result of the investigation, she is now facing multiple charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, she faces decades behind bars. 

This case serves as a reminder that the obligation to pay alimony and child support falls on the individual and cannot be handed over to a paid third party. Even though Meachem was a victim of fraud, he is still responsible for ensuring that those payments are made in a timely manner. That should serve as a warning to Florida residents considering alternative payment arrangements.  

Source: theadvocate.com, "How was Robert Meachem scammed out of $1.7 million? Unsealed indictment against adviser explains", Ramon Antonio Vargas, May 2, 2018

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