WASHINGTON – A St. Petersburg, Fla., man was arrested today on bankruptcy fraud charges, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill of the Middle District of Florida.
An indictment unsealed today in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida charges Jon Jerald Hammill, 39, with three counts of bankruptcy fraud. If convicted on all counts of the indictment, Hammill faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The indictment also notifies Hammill that the United States is seeking to forfeit the proceeds of the bankruptcy fraud.
According to the indictment, on or about Feb. 10, 2009, Hammill filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. The indictment alleges that throughout the bankruptcy proceeding, Hammill made materially misleading omissions and false statements to conceal funds he received from Botfly LLC and his relationship with Botfly LLC, a Florida corporation that purported to offer investments in the foreign currency markets.
The indictment alleges that Hammill lied under oath in sworn testimony before the bankruptcy trustee, in which he stated that he had disclosed all of his assets but he failed to disclose that he had received more than $100,000 from Botfly prior to the filing of his bankruptcy petition. The indictment also alleges that Hammill made additional materially false statements and omissions in his sworn bankruptcy petition. Hammill allegedly failed to list in his petition his ownership of a Florida shell corporation, Jon J. Hammill P.A., when he was required to do so, and falsely stated that his work for that corporation had ended in 2006. Hammill also failed to disclose his relationship with Botfly. According to the indictment, from February 2008 to April 2010, Hamill and his corporation received approximately $1.5 million from Botfly. These funds were proceeds of investments by Hammill with Botfly and compensation for work which Hammill and his corporation performed on behalf of Botfly.
The president of Botfly, David R. Lewalski, has been charged in a superseding indictment with mail and wire fraud for his participation in a foreign currency investment fraud scheme that he allegedly perpetrated through Botfly.
An indictment is merely a formal charge and the defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Glenn Chernigoff of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mandy Riedel of the Middle District of Florida. The case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, with assistance from the Florida Office of the Attorney General. The Office of the U.S. Trustee in Tampa, Fla., also provided substantial assistance.
Today’s charges are part of efforts under way by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov .