Ripon Man Arraigned for Bankruptcy Fraud Indictment
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kulvir Singh Cheema, 55, of Ripon, was arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmond F. Brennan on bankruptcy fraud charges, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
On March 31, 2016, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Cheema, charging him with false bankruptcy declaration, concealment of bankruptcy assets, and fraudulent transfer. At the arraignment, Cheema entered a plea of not guilty. A status conference is scheduled for May 20, 2016 before U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr.
According to court documents, when Cheema filed for bankruptcy in April 2011, he provided false information about his employment and wages that he received, his current income, his residence, and whether he had lost a piece of property in the past. He is also alleged to have concealed income that he received, as well as assets such as trucks and bank accounts that he controlled and that were held in other names. In January 2010, in contemplation of filing for bankruptcy, Cheema knowingly and fraudulently transferred ownership of his residence in Ripon from himself to another person.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John K. Vincent and Brian A. Fogerty are prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Cheema faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison for each of the three bankruptcy counts and up to a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.