When Lucy Weisman was 19 years old, she met a man at her place of employment. The customer, Rick Wooton, and she became friends. Soon a relationship bloomed between the two of them. Rick was 31 years old when they met. At the time, Lucy didn’t know her new boyfriend had an extensive criminal history. Nor did she know her chance meeting at work with Rick would lead to a nearly 15-year long legal battle regarding custody and child support for their minor daughter. When reports surfaced last month regarding her ex-husband’s alleged fraud of more than $500,000, she knew she needed to speak out and share her story. Lucy is determined to stop her ex-husband from harming any more people and protecting her daughter from her “deadbeat” father.
We sat down via Skype to talk to Lucy earlier this week to get her story. She says she first met Rick when she worked as a dancer in Minnesota. Their relationship moved quickly. Everything about their relationship seemed normal for Lucy. Until a month into her relationship, she was pulled over by state troopers.
State troopers flagged her down after she picked up fast food. When she was pulled over, officers told her the car she was driving was registered as a stolen vehicle. She learned that Rick had been arrested earlier that day for stealing a four-wheeler in a nearby county. Officers informed her the car was paid for with a bad check.
With only a month into the relationship, Lucy found herself arrested and Rick was in jail for Grand theft and burglary. Lucy avoided prosecution for driving the stolen vehicle by testifying against him.
While Rick was in jail, Lucy learned she was pregnant with Rick’s child. Because of her religious upbringing, Lucy married Rick in a jailhouse wedding ceremony. Eventually, Rick received a conviction for the thefts and received a 5-year sentence. During his incarceration, Lucy ended up divorcing Rick.
Today Lucy lives in Texas with her husband and children. The daughter she shares with Rick is almost 15 years old. In October 2006, a court ordered Rick to pay $484 a month for child support. Lucy says she’s only received one payment from Rick. She estimates he owes her almost $70,000.oo.
Over the years she has attempted to terminate his parental rights, but Rick will not willingly give up custody. The courts know of his extensive criminal history. Wooton has amassed more than 30 felony convictions over 29 years. His felonies occurred in multiple states. Despite his record, a judge would not enforce parental termination.
Lucy says she has been reluctant to file a complaint with the state of South Dakota for unpaid child support. Custodial parents can request the state to enforce the payments. If she filed the paperwork, South Dakota would work to collect the 12 years of unpaid support.
However, Lucy says she’s afraid to file the enforcement orders due to Wooton’s threats. According to Lucy, Rick has threatened to fight her for custody if she ever attempts to enforce the court order. Due to the financial threat and burden, it would place on her family; she made the decision not report the back child support to the state.
Their daughter has spent the majority of her life without a relationship with her father. Wooton remained incarcerated until his daughter was five years old. Following his release, he got arrested on new charges for grand theft and larceny. The crimes in 2009 were similar to what victims are accusing of him today. Rick started construction jobs, took money upfront, and never completed the jobs.
In 2009, Rick returned to prison for a 5-year sentence. He served three years and two years of supervised probation.
During this time, their daughter has had little time to know her father. Lucy remarried, and her new husband has been an active father in her daughter’s life for almost eight years. Her husband wants to adopt their daughter legally, and her daughter wants to be adopted by her step-father. However, Rick will not sign over his parental rights.
When news broke that Rick was accused of a new crime, Lucy felt hope her daughter might receive her wish of adoption. When I asked Lucy why she came forward to share her story, she told me she wants Rick to be locked up for good. As she read about his crimes and the extent of the damage he created, she felt horrible for the victims.
Lucy knows first hand how terrible Rick can be to people. She knows how he uses threats and intimidation to get what he wants. Additionally, she understands the agony and pain the victims are going through because of his crimes. When I asked her what she wanted to victims to know about Rick, she told me,
“Rick is a career criminal. He is 100% selfish. I feel horrible for the money he took from them. But I know that Rick will never care about his victim’s pain or suffering. It will never affect him. I know he stole from cancer patients and chronically ill people, and I feel terrible because he will never pay them back. He owes a lot of people a lot of money.”She went on to say, “Rick is a menace to society. He will never change. No one wants him locked up more than my daughter and me. I hope these new charges will finally land him in prison for life. Then I can finally get his parental rights terminated. All my daughter wants is to be free from her biological father.”
The state of Minnesota has not filed criminal charges against Wooton. However, victims of his fraud say prosecutors have obtained warrants for his bank records and video surveillance. When Rick was released in 2012 from prison, a condition of his release was that he could never own or operate a construction business.
Investigators are reviewing contracts and records to determine if he broke this law. Furthermore, authorities are analyzing tax records to determine if Wooton committed tax evasion.
Victims say he presented himself as the owner of Crossroads Remodeling. More than 40 families have provided evidence to Hennepin County investigators. With the investigation on-going, Lucy says she knows the victims probably feel desperate for him to be arrested and jailed.
When she learned yesterday he was auctioning off his property; she felt terrible for the victims. She said, “It doesn’t seem fair that he can sell off the property. Most of it is probably stolen.”
As I finished my conversation with Lucy, I asked her why it was vital for her to share this information. She told me,
“No one knows more about the pain that Rick causes than my daughter and me. He’s been terrorizing our lives for almost 15 years. All I want is for there to be no more victims. I will do whatever I can to ensure he goes to prison for life for these crimes. I know the victims are worried he may never be arrested, but I promise I know his history. Rick will be incarcerated for these crimes.”
As the investigation continues, we will have to wait to see what charges The State of Minnesota and the Federal Government will bring against him.
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