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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

Friday, March 15, 2019

Boulder Doctor Sentenced For Bankruptcy Fraud

Defendant Cathleen Van Buskirk used shell companies to hide assets from Bankruptcy Trustee

DENVER – Cathleen Van Buskirk, age 55, from Erie, Colorado, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez to serve 18 months in federal prison followed by 3 years on supervised release and pay a $50,000 fine for committing bankruptcy fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn and FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips. Van Buskirk appeared and was released on bond.  She must report to a Bureau of Prisons facility no later than April 19.

Van Buskirk is a doctor and surgeon who practiced in Boulder, Colorado, until shuttering her practice in the wake of her indictment. A federal grand jury in Denver indicted Van Buskirk on December 4, 2017. She pled guilty to a single count of bankruptcy fraud on August 24, 2018, and was sentenced today, March 15, 2019. 

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, as well as information presented to the court at sentencing, Van Buskirk spent about two years hiding upwards of $300,000 worth assets that should have been part of her bankruptcy estate. Van Buskirk filed for personal bankruptcy in August 2014, but deliberately failed to disclose certain assets and took various steps to conceal her interest in those concealed assets. Among other actions she took, Van Buskirk gave a friend gold and silver coins, foreign currency, a diamond ring, and $48,000 in cash to hold for her. She also routed $170,000 through various shell companies that were registered in the names of others but which Van Buskirk actually controlled. Even after the bankruptcy trustee filed a motion to revoke Van Buskirk’s bankruptcy discharge, she continued lying to the trustee about the full extent of her assets for several months until it became clear that she could not hide her true financial situation any longer.

“Concealing assets in attempt to circumvent the bankruptcy process is criminal,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “In this case the defendant thought she could beat the system.  It is clear from today’s sentencing by Judge Martinez that she lost.”

“This sentencing should send a strong message to anyone considering bankruptcy fraud,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips. “Today’s decision affirms the hard work of the FBI and our dedicated law enforcement partners.”

This case was investigated by the FBI with cooperation from the Office of the U.S. Trustee.  The defendant was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel E. Burrows and Assistant U.S. Attorney Pegeen Rhyne. 

Jeff Dorschner Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado 303-454-0243 direct: 303-454-0400 fax
Press Release Number: 
CASE NUMBER: 17-cr-00448
Updated March 15, 2019