Andre Rison, a former NFL player who blew a fortune trying to look rich, escaped a prison term last week when a federal judge went soft on him for violating probation.
Prosecutors with the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office wanted Rison behind bars for at least 15 months for failing to live up to a 2012 agreement to pay $322,000 in past-due child support.
Rison's a legend in Michigan -- but not just because he was, according to him, "athletically and statistically among the best receivers EVER." Rison has also gained fame for being a dope with his money and a world-class deadbeat dad. He was one of the stars of an ESPN documentary entitled "Broke," about the financial struggles of former pro-football players.
Rison's first child-support payment for one of his children was due on June 1, 1999. But he failed to pay, records, state, resulting in a past-due total of $346,000. He's apparently paid some of that, but he also hasn't paid child support for three other children, assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Levinson wrote in a memorandum to U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton filed on August 9.
"Since the defendant was placed on probation on July 9, 2012, there has not been a single month in which he has fully complied with the terms," Levinson wrote. "In fact, he began violating the terms of his probation within the first week."
Rison made a "last-ditch" effort in the past few weeks, making payments in order to avoid incarceration, the prosecutor admitted. But that should not stop Bolton from sending Rison to prison, she argued.
"Allowing a defendant to repeatedly and willingly fail to meet his obligations for years on end and then avoid any serious consequence by meeting a tiny fraction of those obligations just prior to sentencing fails to promote respect for the law and provides no deterrence to the defendant or other individuals contemplating a similar crime," Levinson wrote.
Bolton, possibly swayed by the fact that Rison's baby momma, Racquel Blanks of Chandler, didn't want Rison to go to prison, didn't hand down any "serious consequence" to Rison. Instead, the judge merely extended the five-year probation term from his 2012 non-payment case by one year. That agreement requires Rison to pay Blanks $1,000 a month in child support -- and that's on top of a monthly payment of $2,358.86 in child support ordered by the Jackson County, Missouri, civil court in a separate case.
According to Rison, he's been having trouble finding work giving private coaching lessons.
If he fails to fork over the dough as ordered, Rison will likely be headed behind bars for a while.