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Springfield Woman Charged with Concealing Assets; False Statements in Bankruptcy Filings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2010

Springfield, Ill. – A federal grand jury has charged a Springfield, Ill., woman, Donna Leigh Smith, 44, with concealing assets and making false statements related to bankruptcy proceedings, as announced by James A. Lewis, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois.

The indictment alleges that in August 2007, Smith, of Providence Lane, concealed from the bankruptcy trustee property, $67,301 received in June 2006 from a workers compensation claim. Further the indictment alleges that on Sept. 17, 2007, Smith testified under oath at a first meeting of creditors that she had listed all her property on the bankruptcy petition and related schedules and did not have any injuries, claims, lawsuits or possible lawsuits.

The charges resulted from a referral by the U.S. Trustee for Indiana and Central and Southern Illinois (Region 10) and an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Secret Service in coordination with the Central Illinois Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group. The Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group includes representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, U.S. Trustee’s Office for Region 10, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris is prosecuting the case.

“Criminal bankruptcy fraud threatens the integrity of the bankruptcy system, as well as public confidence in that system,” stated Nancy J. Gargula, United States Trustee for Indiana and the Central and Southern Districts of Illinois (Region 10). “We are grateful to U.S. Attorney James Lewis and the Central Illinois Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group for their commitment to combating bankruptcy fraud and abuse.”

The U.S. Clerk of the Court will issue a summons for Smith to appear in federal court for arraignment. If convicted, each offense charged, concealing assets (one count); making a false material statement (one count); and false testimony under oath (one count) carries a maximum statutory penalty of up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Final sentences are determined by the court. In imposing sentence, the court may consider federal sentencing guidelines, which include a defendant’s criminal history, the amount of loss, and other applicable factors.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The U.S. Trustee Program is the component of the Justice Department that protects the integrity of the bankruptcy system by overseeing case administration and litigating to enforce the bankruptcy laws. Region 10 is headquartered in Indianapolis, with additional offices in South Bend, Ind., and Peoria, Ill.

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