Sesser Man Pleads Guilty To Bankruptcy Fraud
On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, Scott L. Thompson, of Sesser, IL, pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud charges pending against him in federal court in Benton, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, James L. Porter, announced today. Thompson 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.
"My office is committed to ensuring the integrity of the federal bankruptcy system," Porter explained. "Individuals who hide their assets during bankruptcy cases are defrauding their creditors. When this type of conduct occurs in Southern Illinois, these individuals will be prosecuted. Bankruptcy is a tool to help people, not a place to commit fraud."
"I am grateful to Acting U. S. Attorney Porter and our law enforcement partners for their strong commitment to combating fraud and abuse in bankruptcy cases," stated Nancy J. Gargula, U. S. Trustee for Central Illinois, Southern Illinois and Indiana.
The indictment charged Thompson with one count of concealing assets and three counts of fraudulently withholding records in a bankruptcy case. In pleading guilty, Thompson admitted that he concealed from the Bankruptcy Court a $28,129.55 settlement he received for a worker’s compensation claim. In addition, Thompson acknowledged that he withheld copies of his federal and state tax returns, despite being ordered to turn them over by the Bankruptcy Court. Under federal law, tax refunds in amounts above certain thresholds must be paid to the Bankruptcy Court and used to pay back the creditors. Thompson’s chapter 13 bankruptcy case was filed and litigated in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Benton, Illinois.
Thompson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 13, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at the federal courthouse in Benton, Illinois. Each count of bankruptcy fraud is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison, and/or a $250,000 fine, not more than three years of supervised release following the prison term, and restitution.
Assistance with the investigation was provided by members of the Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group, coordinated by the U.S. Trustee, while the investigation was conducted by agents from the Springfield Division, Fairview Heights Resident Agency, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Verseman.