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America's 'Most Wanted Deadbeat' Dad Found In Canada After 20 Years On Run

In 1989, a judge ordered Joseph Stroup to pay his ex-wife just $14 a month in child support. He now owes over half a million dollars.

By Gina Tron

Joseph Stroup was ordered to pay child support after he divorced his wife in 1989. The judge ordered him to pay just $100 a month to his ex-wife, but Stroup claimed he was medically disabled and jobless, according to the Calgary Herald. The judge at the time was accommodating and even lowered his monthly payments to just $14.

Stroup, however, allegedly didn’t make the payments, and by 1998 an indictment was filed against him in federal court, according to the Associated Press. The southwest Michigan man wasn’t broke by that point. In fact, he sold an internet business for over $2 million in 1996. Then, he allegedly fled town.

After being wanted for nearly two decades for failure to pay child support, Stroup was found in Alberta, Canada, under the name Joop Cousteau. Restaurant owner Scott Winograd was handed paperwork by Stroup with the name Joop Cousteau on it after Stroup allegedly claimed that a maraschino cherry at the restaurant damaged dental work in his mouth.

“He had his name on it and his birthday, so I thought, ‘OK, Joop Cousteau, that’s an odd name,” Winograd told the Calgary Herald. “I thought I should Google him because all my spidey senses were going off.”

His spidey sense was right, and after about an hour’s worth of Googling and online sleuthing, Winograd realized that the customer was a wanted man. He recognized Stroup after seeing his picture on a government website, which listed the most wanted deadbeat parents.

The government has reported that the Stroup’s overdue child support now exceeds half a million dollars. According to the US Office of Inspector General, he owes exactly $559,900. That federal office has crowned Stroup, now 64, the title of “most wanted deadbeat.”

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement has stated that this deadbeat dad could face prison time, in addition to a hefty fine, for his neglect. It’s unclear if Stroup has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time.

[Photo: Office of Inspector General]

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