Former Owner of Gallup-Based Oil Distributor Pleads Guilty to Federal Bankruptcy Fraud Charge
ALBUQUERQUE—Michael P. Mataya, 64, of Thoreau, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to a bankruptcy fraud charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the United States may recommend that Mataya be sentenced to a maximum term of 24 months of imprisonment. It also requires Mataya to pay restitution in the amount of $265,830.00 to the bankruptcy estate of his bankrupt company so that the funds may be used to pay creditors.
Mataya was the sole owner of Indian Capitol Distributing, Inc. (Indian Capitol), a Gallup-based oil and gas distributor, and Mataya’s Travel Plaza, a truck stop in Gallup, N.M. He was indicted on Feb. 26, 2014, and charged with three counts of bankruptcy fraud. Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment charged Mataya with making materially false statements under oath on May 5, 2009 and May 28, 2009, before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in bankruptcy proceedings involving Indian Capitol. Count 3 charged Mataya with fraudulently transferring assets belonging to Indian Capitol to Mataya’s Travel Plaza.
Today Mataya pled guilty to Count 2 of the indictment. According to Mataya’s plea agreement, Indian Capitol filed for bankruptcy in April 2009. At the time, the company had dozens of creditors. After the bankruptcy court entered an order permitting Indian Capitol to use cash collateral during an emergency period on the condition that it not transfer assets to any entity owned by Mataya, Mataya provided false testimony before the court to conceal the fact that Indian Capitol was delivering fuel to Mataya’s Travel Plaza without payment in violation of the court’s order.
In entering his guilty plea, Mataya admitted falsely testifying because he knew that the court would not permit the transfer of fuel from Indian Capitol to Mataya’s Travel Plaza. He also admitted falsifying invoices and bills of lading to conceal this unlawful transfer of assets. He acknowledged that the total value of the fuel unlawfully transferred to Mataya’s Travel Plaza was $265,830.00.
Mataya remains on conditions of release and under pretrial supervision pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Paige Messec.