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Harrisburg woman pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud in Federal Court

Rietta M. Miller, 51, of Harrisburg, IL, has pled guilty to a bankruptcy fraud charge pending against her in federal court in Benton, U.S. Attorney Donald S. Boyce for the Southern District of Illinois announced today.

Charges were filed against Miller on January 30, 2017, as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s effort to crackdown on those who commit fraud in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Illinois. “Federal bankruptcy laws enable debtors to gain a fresh start in life through a discharge of their debts,”

Mr. Boyce explained. “In order to get this fresh start, however, the law requires debtors to disclose their assets so that their creditors can be paid back as much as possible before the debts are discharged. Individuals who hide their assets during bankruptcy cases are defrauding their creditors. Our office will continue to prosecute those who engage in this type of conduct.” Miller was charged with concealing assets in her bankruptcy case.

In pleading guilty today, Miller admitted that she concealed from the Bankruptcy Court a $47,736.12 worker’s compensation settlement she received approximately one month before she filed bankruptcy. Miller acknowledged that she attempted to conceal this money from the Bankruptcy Court by moving the funds in and out of her bank accounts.

Miller also admitted that she lied on the bankruptcy petition and schedules she filed with the Bankruptcy Court, and again when she was asked questions under oath at a Meeting of Creditors held in her bankruptcy case. Miller’s chapter 7 bankruptcy case was filed and litigated in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Benton, Illinois.

“This case is an example of the collaborative efforts of the Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group and other law enforcement partners to combat fraud and abuse in our nation’s bankruptcy system,” stated Nancy J. Gargula, U.S. Trustee for Southern Illinois, Central Illinois and Indiana (Region 10). “I am grateful to U.S. Attorney Boyce and our law enforcement partners for their strong commitment to combating fraud and abuse in bankruptcy cases.”

Miller’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 18, 2017, at 10:30 a.m., at the federal courthouse in Benton, Illinois. The crime of concealing assets in a bankruptcy case is punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment, and/or a $250,000 fine, not more than three years of supervised release, and restitution. The charges resulted from a referral by the U.S. Trustee for Indiana and Southern and Central Illinois (Region 10) to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

The investigation was conducted by agents from the Springfield Division, Fairview Heights Resident Agency, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), in collaboration with the Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group coordinated by the U.S. Trustee. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Verseman.