Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Undocumented bigamist assaults, abandons single mom and court orders her ‘burden of proof’
OKEECHOBEE, FLORIDA - MARCH 29, 2021 – Audra Clemons has been in an ongoing ‘dissolution of marriage’ case in the 19th Circuit Court of Florida, (Audra Lea Clemons-Abreu vs. Carlos Alberto Abreu Mendez, Fla. 19th Circuit Ct., 2019), for over twenty-months even after a warrant for BIGAMY was filed and issued to Carlos Alberto Abreu, by the St. Lucie County State Attorney’s office on November 24, 2020 (State of Florida vs. Carlos Alberto Abreu Mendez, Fla. 19th Circuit Ct., 2020).
Having exhausted finances, Clemons is forced to face Mr. Abreu’s council, sans legal representation and in front of a temporary judge presiding in Okeechobee, FL, on Wednesday March, 31, 2021. The hearing is ordered as continuation to the original dissolution of marriage filed in July 2019.
Now the question raised is with a warrant out for bigamy – a 3rd degree felony – and law enforcement on standby will Mr. Abreu be required by the court to turn himself in?
“With Zoom court cases, people don’t even have to show up to the courthouse anymore. I saw Carlos twice on-screen in a Zoom chat room in early 2020, but haven’t spoken to him or physically seen him in over a year and a half. His whereabouts have become attorney-client privilege,” said Ms. Clemons.
Bigamy is a charge that is rarely seen in the judicial system therefore it comes with outdated case law and lack of legal experience.
Ms. Clemons said the initial judge made a statement that ‘this case fascinates me; it brings out my inner law nerd,’ which made her feel like an academic carrion.
With Covid-19 and its myriad hurdles of criminal pursuit for law enforcement, the resignation of judges to the district, and an already overloaded court system, a recipe for disaster is concocted. This creates an environment where the miscarriage of justice occurs.
Ms. Clemons’ case lands swiftly on the heels of the finalized bigamous case Athans v. Athans (Athans v. Athans, No. 09-19-00152-CV, 2019 WL 3330591, at *1 (Tex. App.-Beaumont July 25, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.). Charity Lenee Parchem-Athans, won her divorce against then-husband Mark Athans, in a Texas circuit court, but once she was charged with bigamy, Mr. Athans appealed the court’s order and the appellate court ‘slapped down’ the circuit judge’s ruling with a writ mandamus to vacate the order.
Here’s a media link to the Athans v. Athans story.
Background on Clemons-Abreu: Ms. Clemons lived in St Lucie County, when she met Mr. Abreu. She was wed to him on September 7, 2015, unknowing that just four months prior he had married another woman, Angelica M. Borrego, in Hialeah, FL.
Clemons and Abreu held a lavish ceremony on September 19, 2015. Clemons went through fertility treatments and IVF cycles, finally falling pregnant and giving birth to twin daughters on December 21, 2017.
In April 2018, just four-months after birthing twins, Clemons trusted Abreu with the task to jointly file their taxes, after all, Mr. Abreu had been living and working in the state of Florida since 2008, claiming to own numerous companies. This was the action that lead to a series of heartbreaking events.
In October 2018, Clemons called the IRS inquiring about the money they were expecting from their tax return. Unbeknownst to her, the taxes were never filed despite what Mr. Abreu claimed. Then came out that Mr. Abreu never filed his personal income taxes, nor did he have an ITIN number. Once the 2017 taxes were filed the IRS garnished Ms. Clemons’ refund.
Ms. Clemons contacted US Immigration and Custom Services, and in April 2019, it was confirmed that Mr. Abreu never filed the I-130 Petition on her behalf, which is a vital immigration form required to legally live and work in the United States.
In fact, Mr. Abreu entered the United States on a student visa but never enrolled in school.
Between 2015 – 2019: Mr. Abreu’s bank account was closed by Bank of America; Ms. Clemons found out his automobile was registered and titled to a cousin; there was no auto-insurance on the vehicle; Mr. Abreu’s driver’s license had been revoked in Florida.
In July 2019, Mr. Abreu was arrested for felony domestic assault; a few weeks later Ms. Clemons filed for divorce. That same month Mr. Abreu left Okeechobee county.
A few months into the dissolution of marriage, Ms. Clemons found out Mr. Abreu was married to another woman and wanted the dissolution of marriage to be changed to an annulment – one that is void and null from the start.
However, to date, the 19th Judicial Court continues to ignore the annulment request, which causes excessive grief and financial burden to this single mom who is strapped with working; learning how-to teach a daughter on the Autism Spectrum; trying to maintain normalcy for her other toddler; and constantly creating a secure and stable environment for the both.
“It is hard enough being a single mom of twins – one with a disability – and living on a single-parent income. The thought of having to throw more money at lawyers, who after two-years seem like vultures, well, that just adds insult to injury. But, hey, it’s March, which is Women’s History Month, and there is hope for the first time in a long time, especially with the passing of the Violence Against Women’s Act in The House. I am keenly aware of the climate my precious girls are growing up in, so it’s my job to be their strong role model every day. However, somedays, I do feel like equality for women is a joke, especially with this annulment cloud looming over me. Sometimes I worry that my daughters will fall victim to a hate crime, like bigamy, like I did. This makes me realize that I have to keep fighting, not just for me, but for them – for what is right. It’s just really hard.”
Ms. Clemons agreed to speak out on this matter in hopes of public support and the possibility of someone helping her expediently resolve the legal issue.