Tag Archives: bankruptcy fraud

Recap and Announcement

Updated: Feb 2016:  forgot to provide the new website mentioned below.  It is www.testingmaryland.com  Please visit, and let us know what you think.

 

This site was dedicated to learning about and exploring the truth concerning one person’s experience with another. The site expanded in ways that we didn’t originally plan for, and it wasn’t long before we outgrew the original intent while simultaneously reaching our goal. This site focused on one person, and what they were able seemingly able to achieve.

We originally sought to explore the following with our Pisces, Gail R. Proctor:

Here are the posts that have been done, that address each of the subject areas.

It all surfaced on mortgage applications for houses that were secretively in bankruptcy:

http://www.tocatchafish.net/being-stuck-in-fraud/

 

Which led to the REAL fake husband of Ms. Gail Renai Proctor’s that appears to be:  http://www.tocatchafish.net/bah-fraud-solve/

 

Which led to finding this:

http://www.tocatchafish.net/she-claims-she-is-married/

http://www.tocatchafish.net/mr-black-will-be-turning-60/

 

Is there disability fraud going on?

http://www.tocatchafish.net/maryland_and_full_disability/

 

False claims of Florida residency in order to avoid paying Maryland taxes

http://www.tocatchafish.net/maryland-tax-evasion/

 

Continuing to operate a business in Maryland without paying its MD personal property tax or filing a company tax returns with IRS

http://www.tocatchafish.net/md_corp_fraud/

 

Making false statements in order to try to quiet someone who knows your Federal fraud:

http://www.tocatchafish.net/pretend_victim/

 

Committing Bankruptcy fraud (same old pattern of fraudulent statements):

http://www.tocatchafish.net/bankruptcy-fraud/

 

The original questions we sought to answer were:

1) How easy is it for someone to defraud the Federal Government for years undetected?

2) Is it possible for someone to create a person out of thin air and get financial benefit from it for years?

3) Can a person take paperwork from a Federal agency, and submit an altered version of it to a related State agency, undetected, and get financial benefit?

4) Can a person claim a disability that doesn’t exist, and get paid for it?

5) How easy is it to conceal assets, stockpile money and give false statements on your Federal bankruptcy schedules under the alleged “penalty of perjury”?

6) How easy is it to claim that you live in a State that has no income taxes, in order to avoid paying taxes in another State where you do live (that has taxes)?

 

Clearly, the problem isn’t just the person who is doing the acts, but the people who help enable it and the systems that allow it. Hence, the creation of a new site with a new purpose! Stay tuned as we finalize that site and its’ contents. We will make the announcement on this one, and link the two of them together.

Bankruptcy Attorneys Being Naughty

I don’t think that anyone truly thinks that fraud and actions to cover up fraud don’t exist in our world. I myself have spent many times around the watercooler at my job, talking with co-workers about the lengths that people go to in order to make it that their illegal actions don’t see the light of day. What we are blown away by are stories where attorneys are doing the illegal activities to help their client who has been fraudulent in the first place. The last blog post sparked our interest in these sorts of situations.

And they do happen.

The good news for those of us who think there is no hope for a system where these things are tolerated by the very officers who are entrusted with the care of that system, is that they often times get caught. That is the subject of my post: those naughty bankruptcy attorneys.

Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9011 provides guidance about an attorney’s filings:

“The attorney “is certifying that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances” that the information presented by the attorney to the court is such.

So you can’t just upload things just because you feel like it, and you can’t to purposefully cause delay, and you can’t to try to increase the cost of litigations, and you can’t make allegations unless you have evidentiary support for them. So actually I wrote it wrong to say “you can’t”. You CAN, but doing so will subject you to sanctions, and a nice big fat Order for Show Cause that starts the ball rolling. Bankruptcy courts can impose sanctions in three situations: where papers that are submitted demonstrate factual frivolity, legal frivolity, or where papers are submitted for an ‘improper purpose.’ Attorneys have been penalized by the bankruptcy court for their actions.  THIS case involves sanctions against an attorney who advised their client not to disclose assets. And THIS case shows the importance of the attorney having information to back up their claims, and what happens when your client contradicts their facts to save themselves.
At all times once an attorney is retained as their counsel, it is THEY who are running the show and are responsible for authenticity of information on schedules. It doesn’t work to say you believed what your client told you about the amount in their accounts or their income amount, if you don’t get the statements to corroborate what they’ve said. Attorneys are responsible for doing discovery on their clients’ information BEFORE filing things in the court about them. Not that you can’t do that, but if you do, it is your ass in the sling swinging in front of the Judge at your Show Cause hearing. It’s also a no-no to repeatedly submit unconfirmable plans (see Dahlgren v. Palone case), and to do so in a deliberate attempt to multiply or delay proceedings subjects the attorney to sanctions also. It’s a privilege to operate in the court, and if you abuse it by being negligent, too bad for you (see Thao Tran).

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that an attorney’s show cause hearing isn’t the place for them to lie about what or why they did what they did. Ask Kathy Cruz, who put wrong information on schedules that affected funds available to creditors, mischaracterized monies in order to obtain confirmation for their client, and then made misrepresentations in her show cause hearing to the Judge about her actions. Fines, mandatory reeducation and suspension of practice for 6 months. Was that little money your client gave you really worth all of that, Kathy? Kathy isn’t alone. If attorneys think they can get one over on a determined Judge, just look at this case, also found on the internet, involving what at first was an attorney not using Federal upload system in accordance with the Rules:

Download (PDF, 127KB)

There is a blog post found HERE, where an attorney asks “what has happened to honesty in the Bar, for Pete’s sake?” We applaud any avenues that exist to bring out and showcase the fraudulent behavior of clients hell-bent on committing bankruptcy fraud, and their attorneys who are determined to “win” by any means necessary to help them.  At some point, it becomes clear that your client is committing fraud, and an attorney that keeps walking beside them to help them do it… well, hopefully they don’t mind their character and reputation being judged accordingly.  Birds of a feather, do tend to flock together!

We Would All Hide Assets And Ride Off Into the Sunset of Retirement

That’s what the U.S. Attorney said to the jury for the trial in Federal court of a woman charged with committing Social Security and Bankruptcy fraud. What follows is a writeup of a woman who was caught doing the very things that I’ve seen happen in a bankruptcy case that I am involved in. I have been wondering what the possible penalties are for people who actually get caught and charged, and the story of Sheryl Bruner provides some guidance.

Poor Bruner. An upstanding woman who was receiving disability pay and trying to be a good citizen, but whom was overwhelmed with her bills and debts. She filed for bankruptcy protection to try to get that “Fresh Start” that all Americans are entitled to seek. Only, Bruner wasn’t the poor soul that she painted herself to be in her bankruptcy petition.

I’ll let you read the linked story found on Fraud of the Day’s website, found HERE, to read Larry’s take on the story. She was running companies, lying on her Social Security recertification statements about her activities, and concealing assets such as a TD Ameritrade account; a stash of money in her house; bank accounts not on schedules, assets not disclosed, etc. Ah, so people DO get charged with bankruptcy fraud for doing those things! When I read about her car, paid for in cash, I almost thought I was experiencing dejavu! When I read that she thought she didn’t have to disclose things about her assets and activities that were involved with her LLC, I knew it was dejavu.

Gotta love when someone tries to throw their attorney under the bus by saying that they did something or filed something that they weren’t aware of (which is malpractice). Gotta love even more the prosecuting attorney who plays an audio tape of the debtor’s statement in their meeting of creditors that confirms what all debtors are asked: did you see, read and sign your petition? YES, she did. And no Sheryl, it doesn’t work to try to allege that your lawyers were shady if you didn’t complain to what is known here in Maryland as the Attorney Grievance Commission. Her lawyer, who tried to “defend” his client by essentially defaming her bankruptcy counsel, said that he was doing so because of his obligation to his client. The U.S. District Judge that heard the case was not convinced, reporting that she was going to investigate the matter and hold the defense attorney accountable for his actions.

Apparently, Ms. Bruner thought she could try to hide behind the fabricated actions of someone else in order to try to cast doubt regarding what were HER fraudulent actions. Pay attention: it is the debtor’s responsibility to ensure that the information contained on the bankruptcy petition is correct prior to the attorney uploading it to the Federal docket. The attorney only knows what their client tells them, which is why they are supposed to get the statements from the client that shows the truth. If a client decides to withhold info from their lawyer, then it is the CLIENT who is committing fraud. Doesn’t matter if you amend your schedules later to add things because you found out that questions were being asked. That’s called Trying to Feign Compliance After Your Crime. The jury didn’t buy it, and it took about two hours for them to convict her. You can read HERE for another perspective about this story.

The U.S. Attorney said that the woman “never misses an opportunity to game the system”. Unfortunate that she had to put her retirement and freedom at risk by being so greedy. More unfortunate that she, like others, think they can continue to use that same system to try to get them out of the trouble resulting from that gaming/fraud. Larry wrote “Compulsive lying got this fraudster into a heap of trouble that will most certainly give her plenty of time behind bars to work on breaking her bad habit.” In my experience with someone with similar tendencies, some habits can’t be broken. Especially if the person has no remorse, and believes that they only thing “wrong” is that they got caught.

For those that asked for information regarding the fraud charges Bruner faced, here is the indictment:

Download (PDF, 298KB)

And here is more about her seized money, and what she tried to do with it:

Download (PDF, 223KB)

 

You can find more about her various filings in her defense of the charges by doing an internet search. You will see them all.

It is STILL the case that…

We can all help one another stop bankruptcy fraud

What price would YOU pay for bankruptcy fraud?

This segment reports on the antics of Steven K. Zinnel, who got himself into serious trouble when he planned and decided to commit bankruptcy fraud.  Bankruptcy fraud isn’t such the big story with this case, but what is interesting is the way that his fraud got detected and the fallout from it.  First, some backstory.

Mr. Zinnel went through a horrible divorce and child support battle with his now ex-wife.  Mr. Zinnel was a businessman with significant holdings and assets, but he wanted to control how much of it would be given to his ex-wife or kids.  Essentially, he didn’t want to be told by the State court how much of his money would be given for his obligations.  So what did he do?  He filed personal bankruptcy.  Best way to get protection is the Federal kind, while in bankruptcy.  Because of the nature of the relationship between he and his ex, she knew information about his holdings, and he knew that.  She wasn’t going to make it easy for him to just screw her and the kids out of what would rightfully be theirs otherwise.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Zinnel decided, along with his attorney, Derian Eidson, that they would set up trusts and companies in a way that would shield his assets from detection from the bankruptcy trustee.  He put property into other peoples’ names both before and after his bankruptcy too.  THAT, is a no-no.  Zinnel apparently made it clear in the divorce case that he believed he could conceal his true financial picture in order to avoid his financial obligations (his kids).  He wanted a little bit of help to achieve his goal of getting his wife off his trail, so he did what anyone would do: he contacted the FBI.  His ex was making things uncomfortable for him by requesting records about him, so he decided to make things uncomfortable for her.  He asked the FBI to investigate his ex-wife for requesting the records.   According to THIS write-up on the story, “According to papers on file with the court, when agents followed up on Zinnel’s call to the FBI, his own bankruptcy crimes were discovered.”  According to the write-up by TIME found HERE, Zinnel’s BK judge noted that, “having roused the beast, like the professor in Frankenstein, [Zinnel] was soon fighting off his own creation.”  It took a while, but the FBI was able to piece together his asset transfers, saw the sources of his income that he didn’t declare, and found the proof of his various bankruptcy frauds.

Oh, and let’s not forget about his female lawyer that put her own credentials on the line in order to assist her client with his fraud.  Difficult to imagine that an attorney would be so focused on winning for their client, that they would be willing to lie for them and help them commit fraud.  Clean hands doctrine, anyone?  Eidson was convicted of one count of conspiracy, and one of attempting to commit money laundering.  She also had to forfeit assets due to her conduct.  One has to wonder how much her integrity was bought for, assuming she had it to begin with?

 

Zinnel tried to appeal his bankruptcy, but it got stayed until after the criminal proceedings were completed.  You can read about that by going HERE.  Zinnel’s Judge had this to say: [“You don’t lie before a court of law,” Judge Nunley admonished Zinnel. “You don’t continue to lie, which is what you did.” Judge Nunley found that Zinnel’s gifts of being articulate and charismatic were used toward promoting Zinnel’s “own selfish ends.”]  Federal prosecutors had this to report in their filed briefs: “[Zinnel] showed his true nature: ‘hateful, vindictive, and incorrigible,’ read the court papers.  More on that HERE.

Zinnel got fined that $500,000 that is mentioned on nearly all of the bankruptcy paperwork that debtors have to acknowledge.  He also ended up having to forfeit almost $3 million of his assets to the government, and let’s not forget the time that you do for doing the crime that you did: more than 17 years!  Here’s a copy of the Prelim Order:

Download (PDF, 192KB)

We asked on this site, “can you make someone do the right thing?”. We were writing about our Pisces, Ms. Proctor.  We certainly hope she is reading this post, along with her attorneys.  This story is directly relevant to her, and she (and they) certainly know why! It’s time to be honest. Even Teresa, from the Real Housewives of New Jersey is doing it. SEE?

 

More found below:

http://www.justice.gov/usao/cae/news/docs/2013/07-2013/07-17-13Zinnel.html

http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/05/6210229/man-who-hid-assets-in-divorce.html

give a chance