Skip to main content
Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Real Estate Executive of Fraudulently Concealing Assets in Bankruptcy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A federal jury in Chicago has convicted a real estate executive of fraudulently concealing assets in a bankruptcy filing.

In his 2009 bankruptcy petition, BRETT IMMEL, 38, of Des Moines, Iowa, and formerly of Chicago, knowingly and fraudulently concealed income and bank accounts, as well as his interests in businesses and partnerships.  The jury returned its verdict Monday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. 

Concealment of assets in a bankruptcy case is punishable by up to five years in prison.  U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman did not immediately set a sentencing date.

The conviction was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Craig Goldberg, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Pozolo and Erik Hogstrom.

Evidence at trial revealed that prior to the bankruptcy petition Immel was earning thousands of dollars per month as a general partner at the real estate investment company Hanover Services.  Most of his income was paid into a personal checking account held in the names of Immel and his wife.  In May 2009, Immel incorporated Fourteen Consulting, a new business entity of which he was the sole owner.  Over the next several months, Immel began primarily using the new Fourteen Consulting bank account, as well as a Hanover Services account he controlled, to receive most of his income and to pay out nearly all of his personal expenses, including a home mortgage, lease payments on a luxury car, furniture purchases, shopping at high-end clothing stores, child and pet care expenses, and groceries.  Meanwhile, the personal checking account that he stopped using held only about $1,000.

On Oct. 2, 2009, Immel and his wife filed a joint Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeking to discharge more than $6 million in debts.  In required financial disclosures submitted with the petition and signed under penalty of perjury, Immel disclosed only the personal checking account he was no longer using.  He omitted the Hanover and Fourteen Consulting bank accounts, which by that point received most of his income and funded most of the family’s personal expenses.  Immel also denied having interests in partnerships and failed to disclose the true nature and value of his interests in Hanover Services and Fourteen Consulting.

On Nov. 13, 2009, Immel appeared at a required meeting with the trustee appointed to oversee his bankruptcy case.  During the meeting, which was under oath and recorded, Immel falsely swore that the information provided in the petition was true, fair, accurate, and complete.  The bankruptcy petition was approved in January 2010 and all of Immel’s debts were discharged.  Evidence at trial revealed that both before and after the meeting with the trustee, Immel continued to use the concealed bank accounts and business interests to fund the bulk of his family’s personal expenses.

Updated August 30, 2019

Financial Fraud