Dallas Woman Sentenced to 12 Months in Federal Prison for Committing Perjury Related to Bankruptcy Filings
DALLAS — A Dallas woman, Estela Martinez, 54, was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in federal prison following her guilty plea in August 2013 to one count of making a false statement, under penalty of perjury, related to bankruptcy filings. 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, made the announcement today.
Martinez, who had been on pretrial release, failed to appear for her July 9, 2014 sentencing hearing. Following the issuance of an arrest warrant that same day, Martinez was arrested at her home on July 10, 2014. After a hearing on July 11, 2014, the Court revoked her pretrial release and she was remanded into custody pending her sentencing hearing.
According to the original indictment 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, according to that indictment, 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.
Martinez was sentenced today for making a false statement under penalty of perjury in her November 7, 2011 bankruptcy petition, in which she fraudulently concealed that she filed four other bankruptcy cases during the period 2009 through 2011.
This case is one of several felony prosecutions of bankruptcy-related crimes generated by the recent Bankruptcy Fraud Initiative within the Northern District of Texas. Since February 2013, seven debtors have been charged with various felony offenses. Four defendants have entered guilty pleas (two have been sentenced), one defendant is set for trial and two defendants remain in fugitive status with outstanding arrest warrants.
The Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis prosecuted.
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