It seems that every week we hear of a court filing criminal charges on someone who is attempting to defraud the bankruptcy court system in America. This week is no different, as the news emerged that a 58 year old woman in Evansville, IN, Patricia Bippus-Allen, was sentenced to five years in prison following a guilty plea to aggravated identity theft, perjury, and conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud. This case began in nearly seven years ago after the U.S. Department of Justice indicted both Patricia and her brother David Bippus on the multiple cases relating to the bankruptcy fraud scheme.
In this bankruptcy fraud scheme Bippus-Allen forged documents in Bankruptcy Court and proceeded to steal from her husband’s retirement account. In September 2010, she filed joint chapter 13 bankruptcy in her and her husband’s name. This was done without the husband’s consent or knowledge and Bippus-Allen even went as far as to bring her brother David Bippus with here to the meeting of creditors where he falsely swore under oath that his was Patricia’s husband. Following this, Bippus-Allen then withdrew over $24,000 from his 401(k) account and took on over $16,000 in new loans using her husband’s name, again, without his knowledge or authorization. Even more money was deducted from her husband’s direct deposit paychecks in the same manner.
In addition to 60 months in prison, Patricia Bippus-Allen will also be order to pay $112,000 in restitution. Her brother David Bippus received $10,000 to pay in restitution and 2 years’ probation for his role in the con. This story should exhibit that for those who are suffering from honest debt, bankruptcy is a powerful tool. However, there will always be those that attempt to use the bankruptcy system for their own unlawful advantage. These illegal actions are a waste of judicial resources and carry stiff penalties that are never worth the effort and time.