Tuscaloosa Bankruptcy Attorney Charged with Bankruptcy Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 26, 2011|
BIRMINGHAM—Federal prosecutors today charged a Tuscaloosa attorney with bankruptcy fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.
The one-count information filed in U.S. District Court charges DONALD DIONNE, 60, with making a false oath or account in relation to a bankruptcy case.
“By including information which he knew was false, Mr. Dionne attempted to subvert the bankruptcy court’s rules regarding the judge and division to which his client’s cases were assigned,” Vance said. “Regardless of his motivation, as an attorney and officer of the court, Mr. Dionne had a duty to put accurate and correct information on the bankruptcy petitions he filed.”
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama is divided into four divisions: Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western. The local rules of the bankruptcy court require that an individual debtor’s bankruptcy case be assigned to the division that corresponds with the debtor’s residence, principal place of business, or the location of the assets for the person or entity filing bankruptcy for 180 days before the date of the bankruptcy filing.
A plea agreement, also filed today, reflects that from Dec. 6, 2008, to Aug. 29, 2010, Dionne included false information on five bankruptcy petitions in order to have those cases assigned to divisions other than those to which the cases would have been assigned if the true and correct information had been included.
Dionne has agreed not to practice law if on probation or supervised release, according to the plea agreement.
The maximum penalty for making a false oath or account in relation to a bankruptcy case is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated the matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Peeples is prosecuting the case.