Custody Battle Won Through Elaborate Scam


Unless you have been a victim of a custody battle or a family law lawyer, you probably cannot imagine the level some litigants will sink to, to “win at all costs”.

Family law publications and criminal law case books are rife with examples of extreme retaliation, tactics, and tricks parents employ to wrench their child away from a demonized father or mother.

From murdering their child’s other parent, or murdering their child, to kidnapping a child, there are no options off the table for parents seeped in rage over their sudden inability to control their spouse and children. (To read posts on these topics see: November 26, 2011 “4 of the Sleaziest Child Abduction Tactics”; April 23, 2011 “Murder is Cheaper and Quicker Than Divorce”; and February 22, 2011 “Family Law Nightmares”)

The number of recent media reports of separated husbands killing their wives is frightening, particularly when law enforcement lacks evidence to prosecute and convict the offenders.

In these worst-case scenarios, one often recognizes emotional or mental imbalance in the individuals who cannot stand to lose, even if it means a permanent loss of their freedom.

There are, of course, far-less draconian methods of interfering with a child’s parental relationship, such as the strategy used by California mother, Alicia Spenger.

Her estranged husband and the father of their child, Mitchell Katz, was the owner of a California winery.
Ms. Spenger collaborated with a private investigator and a cast of characters who convinced Mr. Katz that his winery should be the subject of a reality television program.

In an elaborate charade, which included meetings, emails and a site visit by a TV camera crew and the show’s producer, Mr. Katz imbibed a few glasses of wine with the crew, only to drive away from his winery and be arrested for drunk driving.

Police Officer Stephen Tanabe’s presence down the road was no coincidence. He was a part of the plan so carefully engineered by Ms. Spenger and her private detective, Christopher Butler, who is no stranger to these kinds of set-ups.

Now Mr. Katz has filed a law suit seeking compensatory and punitive damages against his former wife and others who conspired to lead him into the ruse.

Yes, he willingly drank wine and was not under any coercion by anyone to drive after drinking, however, the act of his wife planning his demise, both from a family court and criminal law perspective is chilling.

A litigant like Alicia Spenger puts her “wants’ before her child’s best interests. Simply devious.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

3 thoughts on “Custody Battle Won Through Elaborate Scam

  1. Incredible story, and your commentary about control is spot on!
    Wow! Setting up a scheme of this sort – expending resources, energy, the degree of duplicity involved – do not sound like the qualities of a good parent.

  2. It’s very sad to see the children’s interests take a back seat to a parent’s bitter vendetta. Children learn about relationships first and foremost from their parents. How does a parent like this teach their children about honesty and integrity?

    “Children, be virtuous, except when you are not getting what you want.”

    The question I am always itching to ask of parents such as these is “What would you like your children to learn from your behaviour?” Sadly, I feel like an honest answer would be “Look out for number one.”

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