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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waxahachie Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Illegally Disbursing Funds In Bankruptcy Case

DALLAS — A Waxahachie, Texas, man, James Derek Howard, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade to serve one year and one day in federal prison, following his guilty plea last year to a bankruptcy fraud offense. In addition, Judge Kinkeade ordered that Howard pay $13,283 in restitution to Southwest Securities, FSB. The announcement was made today by John Parker, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

Howard, 39, pleaded guilty on October 14, 2014, to one count of fraudulent transfer of property of the bankruptcy estate. He has been in federal custody since October 1, 2014, when a U.S. Magistrate Judge revoked his pretrial release based on a government motion to revoke his bond.

According to documents filed in the case, Howard filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition for Waxahachie Heritage Partners, LLC in October 2011. Waxahachie was the named corporate debtor listed in the bankruptcy petition, and Howard signed the petition in his capacity as a member of Waxahachie Heritage Partners, LLC.

Howard was on the signature card of the Debtor in Possession (DIP) account and had access to all the funds in the account. Pursuant to Court order, Howard could only disburse funds from the DIP account with the Court’s prior authorization. From March 2011 through March 2012, the Bankruptcy Court conducted several hearings and issued several orders in an attempt to compel Howard to provide a full accounting to the Court for all funds in the DIP account. Howard admitted that in January 2012, without Court authorization, he knowingly fraudulently transferred $10,000 from the DIP account by writing a $10,000 check to himself.

This case is one of several felony prosecutions of bankruptcy-related crimes generated by the recent Bankruptcy Fraud Initiative within the Northern District of Texas. From May 2013 to the present, nine debtors have been charged with various felony offenses. To date, five of these defendants have entered guilty pleas and have been sentenced, three defendants are set for trial and one charged defendant remains in fugitive status with an outstanding arrest warrant.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis prosecuted.

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Updated June 22, 2015