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Press Release

Spokane Woman Sentenced to 120 Days of Home Confinement and One Year Court Supervision for Bankruptcy Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Spokane – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Michele R. Saldua, age 60, was sentenced today for the crime of making a false declaration under penalty of perjury in relation to a bankruptcy case. Ms. Saldua was a resident of Spokane, Washington but now resides in Arizona. Senior United States District Judge Wm. Fremming Nielsen, sentenced Michele R. Saldua to 120 days of home confinement, followed by a 1-year term of court supervision.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, in October 2010, while residing in Spokane, Washington, Ms. Saldua filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington. Ms. Saldua signed the Chapter 7 petition under the penalty of perjury, and sought to discharge a $22,782 debt from several creditors. Ms. Saldua also filed schedules of assets and liabilities and a Statement of Financial Affairs (“SOFA”), signed under the penalty of perjury. On line 2 of her SOFA, Ms. Saldua was required to truthfully declare the amount of income, other than from employment, trade, profession, or operation of the debtor’s business she received during the two years immediately preceding the commencement of her bankruptcy case. In August, 2010, Ms. Saldua received $108,400 in income as part of a divorce settlement from her ex-husband’s ING IRA/Deferred Variable Annuity pursuant to a divorce decree entered in their divorce proceeding in Hawaii. Ms. Saldua did not report this income on her SOFA and concealed it from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington and the United States Trustee.

In March 2012, the bankruptcy court entered a default judgment denying Ms. Saldua a discharge of her debts.

Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said, "Bankruptcy fraud undermines the whole concept of allowing a debtor to obtain protection from creditors, pay debts in accord with a debtor’s ability, and thereby obtain a fresh start. Concealment of a debtor’s property is a fraud on the entirety of the proceeding.”

The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by George J.C. Jacobs, III, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Updated February 4, 2016

Press Release Number: 15-CR-00058-WFN