FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2006
FORMER DENVER POLICE OFFICER INDICTED AND ARRESTED FOR BANKRUPTCY FRAUD
DENVER -- Troy A. Eid, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, Richard C. Powers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Denver Office, and Gerald Whitman, Chief of the Denver Police Department, announced that JOSEPH MARTIN RAEL, age 53, of Littleton, Colorado, was arrested today by the FBI based on a six count indictment charging bankruptcy fraud. RAEL, a former Denver Police Officer, was taken into custody without incident this morning. He made his initial appearance and was released on bond this afternoon. He is scheduled to be arraigned on October 18th at 10:00 a.m.
According to the indictment, RAEL filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy on March 31, 2005. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a proceeding in which the debtor is unable to make current payments on debts owed, but requests that the United States Bankruptcy Court approval a plan pursuant to which the debtor promises to make installment payments on all or part of the outstanding debts the debtor owes over a period of time of not more than 5 years.
A debtor is required to complete and file several documents with the bankruptcy court as part of the Chapter 13 process. If a married couple files a joint Chapter 13 petition, they are identified as joint debtors. Both debtors must then sign the paperwork under penalty of perjury. The joint debtors are also required to disclose all creditors to the bankruptcy court.
The indictment alleges that the defendant, while filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, falsely affixed his wife’s electronic signature to the bankruptcy paperwork, as well as forge her written signature. The indictment further alleges that RAEL falsely testified as to the location of his wife during a bankruptcy proceeding. Lastly, the indictment states that the defendant did not disclose that he had incurred substantial gambling losses in the year immediately preceding the filing of his bankruptcy case.
“The FBI is totally committed to fighting Financial Fraud, especially when it involves individuals who are held to a higher standard of trust with the public,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Powers. “This case represents another successful investigation in partnership with the Denver Police Department.”
If convicted, RAEL faces not more than 20 years in federal prison for four counts related to the bankruptcy fraud, and up to a $250,000 fine, and not more than 5 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine for each of the two counts of false statements in a bankruptcy proceeding.
This case was initiated by the Denver Police Department who then sought the assistance of the FBI. The case was then investigated by the FBI’s Public Corruption Squad, with the full cooperation of the Denver Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joe Allen.