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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Munster Woman Ordered to Pay Over $80,000 in Restitution To Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee

HAMMOND—Mary Lois Cossey, age 55, of Munster, Indiana, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Philip P. Simon today following her August 2021 plea of guilty to one count of wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson.

Cossey was sentenced to a term of 2 years’ probation, and was ordered to pay $81,159.97 in restitution to the Chapter 13 Trustee appointed to administer her case for the benefit of her creditors.

According to documents in this case, Cossey engaged in a scheme to defraud the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee and her creditors in order to take advantage of the benefits of bankruptcy—including the imposition of a stay on collection and elimination of debts—without making the financial sacrifices required under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Cossey did not disclose on her bankruptcy petition a debt relationship with her personal friend and creditor, identified in the Indictment as Individual A. Even though she was prohibited from incurring new debts during her bankruptcy case, Cossey charged over $240,000 on Individual A’s credit card during the course of her bankruptcy for personal expenses including multiple vacations, luxury clothing and accessories, and jewelry. Cossey incurred other post-petition debts without the permission of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee and failed to disclose changes in her employment and income during her case. Cossey repaid most of her debt to Individual A, while unsecured creditors received only 27% repayment for debts that were discharged in bankruptcy. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service in collaboration with the Northern Indiana Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group coordinated by Region 10 U.S. Trustee, Nancy J. Gargula. A trial attorney from the U.S. Trustee’s South Bend Office also provided assistance.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Abizer Zanzi and Thomas McGrath.

Updated January 13, 2022