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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

5 Accused in Alleged Plan to Avoid Paying Child Support

March 07, 2000|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

OXNARD — The owners of an Oxnard printing company and the company manager have been arrested on suspicion of helping an employee avoid paying thousands of dollars in child support, authorities said Monday.

Camarillo residents Charles and Clara Utts, who own Custom Printing, surrendered Monday and were released from jail after promising to appear in court, authorities said.

The Utts and company manager Eli Eccles are accused of helping employee Mark Farris, 41, avoid having his salary garnished for back child support by making out his paychecks to his current wife, who is not an employee.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Kim Gibbons said Farris of Oak View owes several thousand dollars to his two daughters, 8 and 6, who live in San Diego County.

Authorities in San Diego County sent a letter to Custom Printing more than two years ago ordering the garnishment. Instead, Farris' paycheck was allegedly made out in his wife's name.

"It's pretty disheartening that a legitimate business would engage in this," Gibbons said.

The Utts were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and filing false documents with the state Franchise Tax Board. Eccles of Oxnard was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and released from jail after posting a $20,000 bond.

Arrest warrants for Farris and his wife, 42-year-old Audrey Leslie, also of Oak View, have been issued and both remained at-large Monday night.

In addition to conspiracy, Farris is wanted on suspicion of stealing three payroll checks from his previous printing job in Ventura and cashing them, as well as income tax evasion, welfare fraud and failure to provide child support.

Leslie is wanted on suspicion of conspiracy, welfare fraud, failing to file a 1998 income tax return and creating and cashing four fake welfare checks at businesses in Ventura and Oak View. Leslie was scheduled to be arraigned in court Monday but did not show up, according to Gibbons.

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