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Press Release

Huntington Man Sentenced for 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, was sentenced today to five years of federal probation, including six months on home detention with GPS monitoring, and fined $5,000 for 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. In the days and weeks leading up to his filing for bankruptcy, Spence made extravagant purchases including the buying of airfare to Grand Cayman Islands, Aruba, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Spence admitted that he made these purchases knowing that he would be filing for bankruptcy and did so with the intent of defrauding creditors through the bankruptcy process.

Spence also admitted that 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 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 admitted that he falsely stated on his Schedule A/B that he did not own or have any interest in condominiums. Spence further 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.

At the time he filed for bankruptcy, Spence owned a 100 percent interest in J.C. Spence Company LLC. Spence admitted that failed to disclose in each bankruptcy case that he owned J.C. Spence Company LLC, that he held a 100 percent interest in this company, and that this company possessed substantial assets.

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 a component of the Department of Justice that seeks to promote the efficiency and protect the integrity of the Federal bankruptcy system.

United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan T. Storage prosecuted 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.



Updated April 29, 2024