Looking flash isn’t a substitute for cash.
Suave New York bespoke suit designer Fred Castleberry was jailed in Texas recently over almost $400,000 in unpaid child support.
Disagreeing with his F.E. Castleberry brand’s motto — “The better you dress, the worse you can behave” — a Parker County judge ordered the Creative Director’s arrest in October after years of irregular or non-payment of child support and missed court dates, documents obtained by The Post show.
Despite his upper-class image on Instagram, where he hawks suits for thousands of dollars alongside $550 handmade English loafers to his 80,000 followers, Castleberry, 41, remained in jail for a month as he was too broke to raise bond.
Before launching his own brand, Castleberry says he worked for Ralph Lauren and appeared on HBO Max reality show “Stylish with Jenna Lyons.”
But before his moving to Brooklyn’s affluent Park Slope neighborhood and re-inventing himself, Castleberry lived in the Fort Worth area where he was a divorced wedding photographer. Then he was making regular child support payments, but they dropped off after he relocated to the East Coast, according to ex-wife Bethany Richardson.
“The payments started to become sporadic, $500 here, a few months would go by, then he’d send $1,000. Then a whole year would go by, and there would be nothing,” Richardson told The Post.
“I just want him exposed for the fraud that he is, the liar that he is, and [so] that the people who really know him, know he’s a fake,” his ex added.
She attempted to take him to court in 2012 over missed payments, but he missed every court hearing. Lawyers told her nothing could be done because he didn’t live in the state.
While he was galavanting around New York, Richardson was a struggling single mom living with her mother and their two sons. Later, she made enough money to live in her own apartment, but not enough for furniture. Her boys shared a bedroom and slept on a pallet on the floor in Weatherford, Texas.
“I did whatever I had to freaking do to provide for those kids,” Richardson recalled. “I came up with $25 — just to have enough gas to get us to payday.”
When their youngest son turned 18 last year, Richardson said the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which handles child support, contacted her to close the file but quickly realized Castleberry still had an outstanding balance of $240,000 and started a lawsuit to help her collect the money.
Castleberry turned down The Post’s offer to be interviewed, but sent a statement saying: “I wish I could share that information with you; however, doing so would violate the privacy of my family and friends who have been a great support during this difficult time.”
Another court date was set up to figure out how much money was owned, but Castleberry didn’t attend. A frustrated Texas judge issued an arrest warrant for the impeccably dressed designer, who they calculated now owed nearly $390,000 — after unpaid medical bills for the children, attorney’s fee and interest were added. The judge ordered Castleberry to be arrested when he next returned to Texas.
Castleberry was arrested Oct. 28 at his father’s home and spent more than a month in jail. As he didn’t have enough for bail, his family launched a GoFundMe page begging for donations to help secure his release.
In the end, those donations were used to pay his ex-wife a lump sum of $50,000 so she would agree for his release from jail. The father of two, whose kids are now legal adults, is on probation and has nine years to pay off the obligation to his children. If he fails, he could be arrested again.
A review of Castleberry’s public records show he owes a lot of people money. There are multiple tax liens and judgements against him including: $2,619 for Barclay’s Bank; $3,118 owed to George Malafis; two IRS liens for $6,104 and $35,685 and two liens for taxes owned in New York State for $6,021 and $3,118.
The designer’s father, John David Castleberry, has also served time. Federal prosecutors convicted the elder Castleberry of filing and preparing fraudulent tax returns in 2015 and sentenced him to 126 months in federal prison and $328,143.90 in restitution to the IRS.
“As a result of the fraudulently-overstated income tax withholding, the tax returns that were filed on behalf of the defendants and/or their clients claimed large refunds to which the defendants and their clients were not entitled,” the US Attorney’s Office said.