7 Indicted for Bankruptcy Fraud
HOUSTON – A federal grand jury has returned a total of seven separate indictments against individuals alleged to have filed multiple bankruptcy cases to prevent creditors from initiating foreclosure proceedings against their properties, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
The separate, but similar cases charge Hugo O. Parra, 43, of Cypress; Carmen P. Turner, 55, of Missouri City; LaTasha Riles, 47, of Huntsville; Leslie Nicole Breaux, 40, of Sugar Land; and Jermaine S. Thomas, 40, Angelina Gailey, 57, and Patrick Lee Gailey, 25, all of Houston. All are expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in the near future.
The individuals are each charged with filing multiple bankruptcy cases to obtain an “automatic stay” from the bankruptcy courts which would prevent their creditors from initiating foreclosure proceedings against property for which they had outstanding loans.
Each defendant filed multiple bankruptcy cases to prevent a foreclosure proceeding by their creditors, according to the indictments. Each time a creditor would issue a “Notice of Foreclosure,” the defendants would allegedly file a bankruptcy case in order to obtain an automatic stay of the foreclosure. The charges allege that they would take no further action to abide by the requirements of the court to file additional documents and submit a payment plan to the court to pay their debts under the protection of the bankruptcy laws. Following a 45-day-period of no action by the defendants, their cases would be dismissed, according to the indictments.
The number of bankruptcy cases the defendants allegedly filed ranged from four within less than two hears to 12 over a five-year-period.
The defendants did not make any payments to their creditors under a court approved payment plan, according to the charges. Additionally, each time a defendant filed a bankruptcy case, he/she allegedly failed to list all of the cases they had previously filed. They also signed each filing as being true and correct under penalty of perjury, according to the indictments.
Each person is charged with bankruptcy fraud-scheme to defraud and making false declarations under penalty of perjury. If convicted of either charge, they face up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
The FBI conducted the investigations with the assistance of the U.S. Trustee’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Quincy L. Ollison is prosecuting the cases.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.