Inkster Resident Sentenced for Criminal Contempt
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 25, 2014|
An Inkster man was sentenced today to almost four years in prison following his conviction by a jury of five counts of criminal contempt, announced U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Daniel M. McDermott, U.S. Trustee for Michigan and Ohio (Region 9); Joe Mack, Assistant U.S. Trustee of the U.S. Trustee’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit; and Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Detroit.
U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox in Detroit sentenced Derrick Hills, 54, to 46 months in federal prison.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Hills, acting as a bankruptcy petition preparer since 2007, assisted people in filing for bankruptcy. Hills continued to act as a bankruptcy petition preparer despite five Bankruptcy Court Orders, issued by Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, permanently enjoining Hills from doing so for various acts of non-compliance with bankruptcy rules and resulting complications. Hills assisted individuals with consumer debts in preparing and filing their Chapter 7 bankruptcy paperwork. Judge Cox found that Hills’ actions violated Judge Rhodes’ orders.
Hills’ sentence was enhanced for impeding the administration of justice when he failed to appear at the sentencing hearing last week. As a result, a bench warrant was issued and the U.S. Marshals Service took Hills into custody Friday after forcibly entering his home and arresting him.
McDermott said, “Today’s sentencing sends a strong message: There is a high price to pay for blatantly disregarding bankruptcy court orders and repeatedly disrespecting the authority of the bankruptcy court. We deeply appreciate the strong commitment of U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade to combating bankruptcy-related crimes, as demonstrated by this successful prosecution.”
The U.S. Trustee Program is the component of the Justice Department that protects the integrity of the bankruptcy system by overseeing case administration and litigating to enforce the bankruptcy laws. Region 9 is headquartered in Cleveland, with additional offices in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade added, “Compliance with court orders is essential to our system of justice. The court’s sentence today demonstrates that strong consequences follow the willful failure to obey courts orders.”
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Roble and Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Weier prosecuted the case. The U.S. Trustees Office and the FBI provided assistance in its prosecution.