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Press Release

Former Owner of Gallup-Based Oil Distributor Sentenced to Prison for Federal Bankruptcy Fraud Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Ordered to pay $265,830.00 in Restitution

ALBUQUERQUE – Michael P. Mataya, 64, of Thoreau, N.M., was sentenced late yesterday afternoon in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 24 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for his bankruptcy fraud conviction.  Mataya also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $265,830.00 to the victims of his offense, who were creditors of his bankrupt company.

Mataya was the sole owner of Indian Capitol Distributing, Inc. (Indian Capitol), a Gallup-based oil and gas distributor, and Mataya’s Travel Plaza, a truck stop in Gallup, N.M.  He was indicted on Feb. 26, 2014, and charged with three counts of bankruptcy fraud.  Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment charged Mataya with making materially false statements under oath on May 5, 2009 and May 28, 2009, before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in bankruptcy proceedings involving Indian Capitol.  Count 3 charged Mataya with fraudulently transferring assets belonging to Indian Capitol to Mataya’s Travel Plaza.

On Jan. 16, 2015, Mataya pled guilty to Count 2 of the indictment.  According to Mataya’s plea agreement, Indian Capitol filed for bankruptcy in April 2009.  At the time, the company had dozens of creditors.  After the bankruptcy court entered an order permitting Indian Capitol to use cash collateral during an emergency period on the condition that it not transfer assets to any entity owned by Mataya, Mataya provided false testimony before the court to conceal the fact that Indian Capitol was delivering fuel to Mataya’s Travel Plaza without payment in violation of the court’s order.

According to court documents, to disguise the illegal transfer of $265,380.00 of property from the bankruptcy estate of Indian Capitol to his other company, Mataya’s Travel Plaza, Mataya invented a company called Capitol Excavating.  Over the course of two hearings in the bankruptcy case, Mataya testified under oath that Capitol Excavating was a long-established account of Mataya’s Travel Plaza and that Capitol Excavating had turned to purchasing fuel from Indian Capitol after its bankruptcy filing.  The fiction of Capitol Excavating was exposed when one of the creditors hired an accountant and consultant to look into the financial affairs of Indian Capitol. After conducting an investigation of Capitol Excavating, the accountant and consultant testified in court that there was no company registered in either New Mexico or Colorado under the name of Capitol Excavating.

In entering his guilty plea, Mataya admitted falsely testifying because he knew that the court would not permit the transfer of fuel from Indian Capitol to Mataya’s Travel Plaza.  He also admitted falsifying invoices and bills of lading to conceal this unlawful transfer of assets.  He acknowledged that the total value of the fuel unlawfully transferred to Mataya’s Travel Plaza was $265,830.00.

This case was referred for prosecution by the office of the U.S. Trustee and was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Paige Messec.

Updated May 28, 2015