News and Press Releases


February 11, 2010

BIRMINGHAM – U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn today sentenced a Jacksonville man to six months in prison for his attempts to hide personal income from the court in bankruptcy proceedings, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.

Judge Blackburn also ordered DAVID JOSEPH DUCKETT, 42, to serve three years supervised release after completing his prison sentence and to forfeit $25,900 to the government as proceeds of illegal activity.

Duckett pleaded guilty in June 2009 to bankruptcy fraud and structuring the purchases of U.S. Postal Service Money Orders to avoid financial reporting requirements. According to his plea agreement, Duckett under-reported his monthly income by more than $2,000 on financial statements filed with the court. He swore under oath that the income he reported was accurate. Duckett also tried to conceal $243,440 in income from the court by spending that amount on 259 money orders, ranging in amount from $400 to $1,000, between Feb. 8 and Oct. 23, 2008.

Federal law requires financial institutions to keep records when they issue or sell a bank check, cashier’s check, money order or traveler’s check for $3,000 or more. It is illegal to structure such transactions so that no single one triggers the reporting requirement.
“Filing for bankruptcy provides protections and a fresh start to individuals facing financial problems, but for the process to work, the people seeking that fresh start must be honest with the court and its trustees about their income, what they own and what they owe,” Vance said. “Debtors who try to manipulate those facts undermine the system and its ability to help debtors and creditors, alike,” she said. “This office will seek criminal penalties to protect the integrity of the bankruptcy process.”

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd C. Peeples prosecuted it on behalf of the United States.




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