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Press Release

Huntington Man Pleads Guilty to Making False Declaration in Bankruptcy Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – John Christopher Spence, 67, of Huntington, pleaded guilty yesterday to making a false declaration in a bankruptcy case.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on or about April 30, 2019, Spence filed for bankruptcy as an individual and separately on behalf of Park Place Properties LLC, one of his businesses. Spence admitted he knew he was required to identify creditors and submit various schedules of assets and liabilities and a statement of financial affairs in each bankruptcy case. Each schedule and statement of financial affairs was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court under criminal penalty for false swearing, concealing property, and obtaining money or property by fraud.

On May 30, 2019, Spence caused to be filed Schedule A/B, a disclosure document, and a statement of financial affairs in his individual bankruptcy case. Spence admitted that he knew both contained inaccurate and misleading information, because he failed to disclose in each that he owned J.C. Spence Company LLC, that he held a 100 percent interest in this company and that this company possessed assets.

Spence further admitted that the Schedule A/B contained inaccurate and misleading information, because he failed to disclose that he had legal or equitable interests in condominiums in Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Scottsdale, Arizona; Avon, Colorado; Port Saint Lucie, Florida; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Spence also admitted that he lied about his legal or equitable interests in any condominiums during a meeting of creditors in his bankruptcy case on June 6, 2019.

In April 2019, Spence used one of his credit cards to purchase airplane tickets to the Grand Cayman Islands, Aruba, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Spence admitted that he intended to defraud the credit card company when he purchased the tickets, because he knew he intended to file for bankruptcy and by filing for bankruptcy would avoid paying back the money.

Spence is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The United States Trustee’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia made the criminal referral of this case to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The United States Trustee Program is the component of the Department of Justice that protects the integrity of the bankruptcy system by overseeing case administration and litigating to enforce the bankruptcy laws.

United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan T. Storage is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:23-cr-184. 

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Updated January 22, 2024

Topic
Bankruptcy