Belleville Woman Guilty of Fraud
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Stephanie Reeves, 35, of Belleville, Illinois, has entered a plea of guilty in federal district court on February 17, 2012, to a one count information charging that Reeves committed bankruptcy fraud by falsely claiming that she was in bankruptcy, in order to stop collection efforts by a business to which she owed money. At her plea, Reeves admitted that she utilized the bankruptcy documents of another person by placing her name on the court forms and then sending them to a lender in order to gain benefit of an automatic bankruptcy stay to which she was not entitled.
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 Federal Bureau of Investigation in coordination with the Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group. The Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group includes representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern 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.
“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 Wigginton and the Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group for their commitment to combating bankruptcy fraud and abuse.”
Sentencing has been set for May 21, 2012. At that time, Reeves could face up to 5 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, up to 3 years’ of supervised release upon release from prison, and a $100 special assessment.
The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Ranley R. Killian.