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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee


CLEVELAND RESIDENT JOHN DANIEL O’NEAL INDICTED FOR SUBMITTING FALSE DOCUMENT TO BANKRUPTCY COURT

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.- A federal grand jury in Chattanooga, Tenn., returned a one count indictment on March 22, 2011, against John Daniel O’Neal, 64, of Cleveland, Tenn., for making a false statement in a bankruptcy matter. O’Neal appeared in court on March 30, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carter and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges in the indictment. He was released pending trial, which has been set for June 7, 2011, in U.S. District Court, in Chattanooga.

The indictment alleges that in or about June, 2010, O’Neal submitted falsified documents in a bankruptcy matter with the intent to influence his bankruptcy plan. If convicted, O’Neal faces a term of maximum term of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release.

“This prosecution is part of a renewed initiative to combat bankruptcy fraud in the Eastern District of Tennessee,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian. Killian went on to say, “Tennessee ranked second in the nation last year in bankruptcy filings. Our bankruptcy laws require truthful and complete financial statements so that equitable decisions, balancing the protection of creditors against the need to provide relief to debtors, can occur. Our office will pursue bankruptcy fraud and false statements made in the Bankruptcy Court, because these actions constitute violations of federal law. No one is immune from prosecution due to the falsification of records in order to try to achieve a monetary advantage in the Bankruptcy Court.”

This indictment is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and the United States Trustees Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Brooks and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Foster represent the United States.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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