Moline Man Charged with Falsifying Records, Making False Statements Under Oath in Bankruptcy Proceedings
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -- A Moline, Ill., man, Samir A. Patel, 48, made his initial appearance in federal court today on bankruptcy fraud charges. Patel, of the 3600 block of 73rd Street, was arrested yesterday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen B. Jackson, Jr., ordered that Patel remain detained pending a detention hearing on Feb. 6. Trial was set on Mar. 27, in Peoria, before Chief U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid.
According to the indictment, in June 2013, Patel filed a bankruptcy petition in the Central District of Illinois to discharge his debts under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The indictment alleges that in August and September 2013, Patel provided the Bankruptcy Trustee with altered bank statements and summaries of his bank account.
The indictment also alleges that Patel falsely testified under oath in a bankruptcy proceeding, a September 2013 meeting of creditors, that a $5,000 wire transfer deposit into his account was a loan from a friend of his wife to help the couple pay living and business expenses. As alleged in the indictment, the deposit was actually a $315,000 wire transfer from a law firm related to a business transaction and which Patel was attempting to conceal from creditors and the Bankruptcy Trustee.
The charges resulted from a referral by the U.S. Trustee for Indiana and Central and Southern Illinois (Region 10) to the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois. The charges were investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, in collaboration with the Central Illinois Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group coordinated by the U.S. Trustee. Assistant U.S. Attorney John K. Mehochko is prosecuting the case.
“This case is an example of the collaborative efforts of the Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group and other law enforcement partners to combat fraud and abuse in our nation’s bankruptcy system,” stated Nancy J. Gargula, U.S. Trustee for Central Illinois, Southern Illinois and Indiana (Region 10.) “I am grateful to Acting U.S. Attorney Hansen and our law enforcement partners for their strong commitment to combating fraud and abuse in bankruptcy cases.”
If convicted, the statutory penalty for each count of altering records in bankruptcy (seven counts) is up to 20 years in prison; for falsification of records in bankruptcy (one count) and making false statements under oath in bankruptcy proceedings (one count) the penalty is up to five years in prison. The maximum statutory penalty for each offense charged is prescribed by Congress and is provided for informational purposes as sentencing is determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The U.S. Trustee Program is the component of the Justice Department that protects the integrity of the bankruptcy system by overseeing case administration and litigating to enforce the bankruptcy laws. Region 10 is headquartered in Indianapolis, with additional offices in South Bend, Ind., and Peoria, Ill.