Dallas Woman Pleads Guilty to Perjury Related to Bankruptcy Filings
DALLAS — A Dallas woman, Estela Martinez, 53, appeared in federal court yesterday afternoon, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney, and pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement, under penalty of perjury, related to bankruptcy filings. Martinez faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for January 20, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas, whose office has been placing increased emphasis on investigating and prosecuting bankruptcy fraud.
According to documents filed in the case, Martinez filed six voluntary bankruptcy petitions: in April 2009, July 2009, January 2011, March 2011, November 2011 and in November 2012. Separate counsel represented her in each of the 2009 filings; she represented herself in each of the 2011 and 2012 filings.
In each of the four 2011 and 2012 filings, Martinez falsely and fraudulently omitted information concerning previous bankruptcy filings that she was obligated to disclose, under the penalty of perjury. Martinez fraudulently omitted listing her assigned social security number in several of the filed bankruptcy petitions.
The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis is in charge of the prosecution.
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