Florida Jury Convicts Amana Couple for $350,000 Bankruptcy Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 10, 2010|
On November 8, 2010, a Pensacola, Florida, federal jury convicted a couple from Amana, Iowa, who schemed to defraud bankruptcy creditors out of more than $350,000 in property.
Gerald Schuerer, age 60, and his wife, Fay Schuerer, age 58, both from Amana, were convicted of mail fraud and bankruptcy fraud following a six-day trial. The verdict was returned after about three hours of jury deliberations.
The evidence showed the Schuerers made sham sales of assets to relatives with an understanding they would reacquire the assets from their relatives after filing for bankruptcy protection. These assets included a vehicle, boats, household property, jewelry, stocks, and other investments worth approximately $380,000. The Schuerers placed these assets primarily in the hands of their son and Gerald Schuerer’s parents. The Schuerers then professed to move to Florida where bankruptcy exemptions are more liberal than in Iowa, filed for bankruptcy protection, then moved back to Iowa and got the property back from their relatives. The Schuerers used the sham transactions to hide their assets.
The Schuerers were charged and tried in the Northern District of Florida where their bankruptcy was filed. Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Casey Rogers will be set at a later time. The Schuerers were released on bond pending sentencing. The Schuerers each face a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole, a fine of $500,000, a term of supervised release of six years, and a special assessment of $200. At sentencing the United States will also seek restitution for the Schuerer's creditors equal to the value of the assets the Schuerers concealed.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney C.J. Williams. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Offices of the United States Trustee in the Northern Districts of Iowa and Florida. The investigation and prosecution was a result of the Bankruptcy Fraud Task Force of the Northern District of Iowa.
Court file information is available at https://ecf.flnd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. The case file number is 3:10cr74MCR.