Federal Grand Jury Indicts Former Dallas Resident Who Fled to Switzerland Instead of Appearing, as Ordered, in Federal Court in a Civil Case
Defendant Arrested Last Month Attempting to Re-enter the U.S. at JFK Airport
DALLAS — A federal grand jury in Dallas returned an indictment yesterday charging fugitive Rudolf Suter, 66, formerly of Dallas, with two counts of making false statements under the penalty of perjury when he concealed in his voluntary bankruptcy filing in early 2014 that he had several open and recently closed bank accounts in both the United States and Europe, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Suter, a citizen of Switzerland, failed to appear on March 9, 2016, for a hearing set in a civil case before U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey. That hearing was scheduled for Suter to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for violating post-judgment orders. The following day, Judge Godbey signed a contempt order and ordered that a civil contempt arrest warrant be issued. After remaining a fugitive for approximately nine months, on December 11, 2016, Suter was arrested on that civil contempt arrest warrant as he attempted to re-enter the U.S. at JFK International Airport. He remains in federal custody pursuant to a detention order signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez that noted his repeated failure to comply with orders of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, including his failure to appear at multiple court hearings.
On January 6, 2017, Suter was charged in a federal criminal complaint with making a false statement, under the penalty of perjury, in a bankruptcy case.
According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint and the indictment, in September 2011, counsel for plaintiffs Peter Denton and Harvest Investors, L.P., filed a civil complaint in order to collect a civil claim against in Suter. In August 2012, Judge Godbey issued a final judgment in that civil case in which he granted the motion for confirmation of a foreign arbitration award filed by plaintiffs Peter Denton and Harvest Investors, L.P. Judge Godbey ordered that Harvest have judgment against Suter for $1,025,430 and that Denton have judgment against Suter for $1,025,430. He also ordered Suter to pay interest on both money judgements from June 2009 until the date of payment, and he further ordered judgment against Suter to both plaintiffs to cover other expenses totaling more than $135,000, bringing the total money judgment against Suter to $2,187,055.
After the final judgment in August 2012, and continuing until March 2016, counsel for plaintiffs Denton and Harvest engaged in extensive post-judgment discovery attempts to identify and locate Suter’s property and assets in order to collect this more than $2.1 million judgment. However, from August 2012 through March 2016, Suter engaged in an ongoing pattern of concealing his financial information from the plaintiffs and the court. On January 17, 2014, Suter filed a voluntary bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.
In that bankruptcy petition, Suter concealed his true financial condition when he filed false statements in his Schedule B (Personal Property), his Statement of Financial Affairs, and in other bankruptcy-related documents. In fact, Suter’s efforts to conceal assets and financial information continued until he fled the jurisdiction of both the above-referenced civil case and his bankruptcy case.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, the maximum statutory penalty for the offenses charges is five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, per count.
This case is one of several felony prosecutions of bankruptcy-related crimes generated by the Bankruptcy Fraud Initiative in the Northern District of Texas. Suter is the 26th defendant to have been charged as part of that initiative; 16 have been convicted, one resulted in a mistrial, and nine are pending trial.
Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation in the Suter case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis is in charge of the prosecution.
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