NEW ORLEANS - Betty L. Washington, a New Orleans-area attorney, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for multiple counts of fraud, including bankruptcy fraud, on Jan. 20, 1999, according to United States Trustee Janice Chenier Taylor. Washington was also sentenced to five years of supervised release following her imprisonment, and ordered to pay approximately $5,000 in restitution.
Washington was charged in July 1998 with bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud, making false statements on tax returns and loan applications submitted to financial institutions, and use of a false Social Security number.
The bankruptcy fraud count arose from the fact that between March 1992 and January 1995 she knowingly and fraudulently concealed, from the Chapter 7 trustee in her bankruptcy case and from her creditors, her right to receive legal fees from a client.
In addition, as part of a scheme to obtain more than $20,000 in automobile loans, Washington attempted to mislead a bank into believing her bankruptcy case had been concluded.
On Sept. 18, 1998, after a trial in the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, a jury found Washington guilty of eight of the 12 counts brought against her. She was acquitted on the charges of mail fraud and credit card fraud.
Washington obtained her law degree from Tulane University Law School in 1983 and was admitted to practice law that same year.
United States Trustee Taylor referred the case to United States Attorney Eddie Jordan for prosecution, and the United States Trustee's Office provided expert testimony regarding the bankruptcy fraud counts.
The United States Trustee Program is a component of the Justice Department that supervises the administration of bankruptcy cases nationwide. Taylor is United States Trustee for Region 5, which consists of Louisiana and Mississippi.
Janice Chenier Taylor
United States Trustee, Region 5
Jane Limprecht, Public Information Officer
Executive Office for U.S. Trustees