Texas Woman Sentenced for Bankruptcy Fraud

Estela Martinez, 54, of Dallas, was sentenced on Friday to one year and one day in federal prison for making false statements during multiple bankruptcy filings. Martinez, who pleaded guilty in August 2013 to one count of making a false statement under the penalty of perjury, failed to show up for her July 9th sentencing hearing and was arrested at her home by authorities the following day.  She was then ordered to be held in custody until receiving her sentence on July 18th.

According to the indictment, Martinez filed six voluntary bankruptcy petitions in April 2009, July 2009, January 2011, March 2011, November 2011, and in November of 2012.  In each of the 2011 and 2012 filings, Martinez falsely and fraudulently omitted information concerning previous bankruptcy filings which she was obligated to disclose, including her assigned social security number. In each case the federal judge dismissed Martinez’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions because she failed to report her income and submit other information in a timely manner to the court.

The prosecution of Martinez is part of a recent Bankruptcy Fraud Initiative within the Northern District of Texas.  Since 2013, seven debtors have been charged with various felony offenses, four have entered guilty pleas, and two have been sentenced.  Another defendant is currently awaiting trial, and two others remain fugitives.

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration and the Office of Inspector General.  Assistant United States Attorney David Jarvis led the prosecution.

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