Sister and Brother Pair Indicted in Bankruptcy Fraud Scheme
EVANSVILLE, IN—United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced today, Patricia Bippus-Allen, 56, and her brother David Bippus, 66, both of Evansville were indicted on multiple counts relating to a bankruptcy fraud scheme.
“Using the bankruptcy system and government resources to further one’s own selfish and fraudulent scheme will not be tolerated,” said Minkler. “If you intentionally waste the government’s limited judicial resources, you will be held strictly accountable.”
In September 2010, Bippus-Allen filed a joint chapter 13 petition in both her and her husband’s name in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. This was done without her husband’s consent, knowledge or authorization. During the course of the bankruptcy, Bippus-Allen created several documents with a forged signature of her husband of over 25 years.
Bippus-Allen also provided her bankruptcy attorney with a letter from a doctor stating her husband was under his care and would be in the hospital for at least 30 days and could not see visitors or take phone calls. The doctor who purportedly signed the letter stated it was a forgery and that he had never provided services for her husband.
In March 2011, Bippus-Allen attended a 341 meeting of creditors at which her husband was required to attend as well. David Bippus, her brother, attended the meeting with Bippus-Allen and posed as Bippus-Allen’s husband. Bippus-Allen and David Bippus both stated under oath that he was the husband and that all schedules and documents filed in the bankruptcy were true and correct.
Based on the representations made by Bippus-Allen and David Bippus, a bankruptcy plan was confirmed requiring monthly payments for 60 months. Pursuant to this plan, approximately $74,000 was deducted from the paychecks of Bippus-Allen’s husband without his consent or knowledge.
Further, Bippus-Allen was charged with several counts of wire fraud for transferring money from her husband’s 401 (k) account without his consent, knowledge, or authorization. Bippus-Allen made multiple calls to the 401(k) service center purporting to be her husband while also faxing supporting documentation to the service center for the 401(k) hardship withdrawal. The supporting documentation included records purportedly from a dental office which were determined to not be genuine business records.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group.
“I am grateful to U.S. Attorney Minkler and our law enforcement partners for their strong commitment to combating fraud and abuse in the bankruptcy system as evidenced by the charges announced today, “ stated Nancy J. Gargula, U.S. Trustee for Indiana, Central Illinois and Southern Illinois (Region 10).
According to Assistant United States Attorneys Kyle M. Sawa and Todd Shellenbarger, who are prosecuting this case for the government, Bippus-Allen could face decades in prison if convicted on all counts. David Bippus faces up to five years on each count if convicted.
An indictment is only a charge and all defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in federal court.