Robert R. Bliss
David Fisher, 48, a former Hopkinton resident who appeared on the state's 2002 Ten Most Wanted poster for failure to pay child support, pleaded guilty and was sentenced today to 2 1/2 years in the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction with one year to be served and five years probation.
Once Fisher completes a year in jail and is released he must begin to make child support payments or else return to jail to finish the remainder of the sentence. During his probation he will be fitted with a GPS device and will be required to stay in close contact with the Probation Department.
Milford District Court Judge Robert A. Calagione accepted the guilty plea after a conference with Department of Revenue attorney Colleen Cunnally and Fisher's defense lawyer, James Brady. Fisher has been held in the Worcester jail since his deportation from Canada and his return to Massachusetts on Dec. 28 in the custody of State Police detectives assigned to the office of Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.
Fisher owes $324,086 in unpaid child support and an additional $193,896 in interest and penalties for a total of $517,984. The case against Fisher dates back to January 28, 2000, when he agreed by court stipulation to pay $883 weekly in child support for his three children who were then ages 17, 16 and 10. Fisher was a computer programmer at the time with an annual income that exceeded $100,000.
After a judge denied Fisher's request to reduce child support payments, he was found guilty of contempt for violating terms of the existing order in December 2000. When the Fishers divorced in June 2001, the order to pay $883 weekly child support was part of the settlement.
DOR received the last child support payment from Fisher's employer on April 17, 2001. Sometime thereafter, Fisher fled to Canada with his girlfriend. He appeared on DOR's Ten Most Wanted poster on November 14, 2002. A year later, DOR issued a request to Canadian authorities for assistance in apprehending Fisher. On April 10, 2006, Fisher failed to appear for a court hearing in Canada to answer contempt charges for non-payment of child support, which resulted in the issuance of a bench warrant for his arrest. At the time, Fisher owed $440,920 in unpaid child support, interest and penalties.
"This case makes the point that those non-custodial parents who willfully and flagrantly disregard and walk away from their responsibilities to their children face time in jail. It also makes the point that it is always better, even if a non-custodial parent falls behind in child support, to make at least partial regular payments. Seldom does a parent who is making at least some payment go to jail," said Marilyn Ray Smith, head of DOR's Child Support Enforcement Division.