Carterville Woman Pleads Guilty to Bankruptcy Fraud
On July 12, 2016, Jenny L. Parks-Smith, 42, of Carterville, IL, pled guilty to a bankruptcy fraud charge pending against her in federal court in Benton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Donald S. Boyce, announced today. Parks-Smith was indicted on February 2, 2016, as part of an effort to crackdown on those who commit fraud during the course of bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
"Bankruptcy fraud harms creditors and erodes confidence in the federal bankruptcy system," United States Attorney Boyce explained. "Individuals who hide their assets during bankruptcy cases are defrauding their creditors. Truth is at the core of any bankruptcy and my office will prosecute those who engage in this type of conduct."
The indictment charged Parks-Smith with concealing assets in her bankruptcy case. In pleading guilty, Parks-Smith admitted that she concealed from the Bankruptcy Court a $17,500 settlement she received for a worker’s compensation claim. Parks-Smith further admitted that she used this money to pay personal and family expenses. Parks-Smith’s chapter 13 bankruptcy case was filed and litigated in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Benton, Illinois.
"Abuse of the bankruptcy system by concealing assets for personal gain threatens the integrity of the bankruptcy system," stated Nancy J. Gargula, U.S. Trustee for Southern Illinois, Central Illinois and Indiana (Region 10). "I am grateful to U.S. Attorney Boyce and our law enforcement partners for their strong commitment to combating fraud and abuse in bankruptcy cases." The U.S. Trustee Program is the component of the Justice Department that protects the integrity of the bankruptcy system by overseeing case administration and litigating to enforce the bankruptcy laws. Region 10 is headquartered in Indianapolis, with additional offices in Peoria, IL and South Bend, IN.
Parks-Smith’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 19, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. at the federal courthouse in Benton. The crime of concealing assets in a bankruptcy case is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison, and/or a $250,000 fine, not more than three years of supervised release, and restitution.
The charges resulted from a referral by the U.S. Trustee and the investigation was conducted by agents from the Springfield Division, Fairview Heights Resident Agency, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") with assistance from members of the Southern District of Illinois Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group coordinated by the U.S. Trustee. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Verseman.