California Man Convicted of Concealing Thunderbird in Montana Bankruptcy Case
MISSOULA—Following a two-day trial for concealing a 1957 Thunderbird and another vehicle from a bankruptcy trustee, Timothy James Pulliam, 65, of La Mesa, California, was convicted by a Montana jury of concealing property and making false statements under oath related to his bankruptcy proceeding. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy presided over the trial. Pulliam now faces a maximum five years in prison on each count, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release.
Evidence presented at trial by Assistant United States Attorney Chad Spraker showed that Pulliam and his wife filed for bankruptcy in April 2010. Pulliam planned to sell the 1957 Thunderbird in order to fund a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He also listed the Thunderbird in his bankruptcy schedules, which are a listing of a debtor’s assets at the time of filing for bankruptcy. At the beginning of the bankruptcy, Pulliam stated it was his plan to sell the car to raise enough money to finish a house he was building in Corvallis, Montana. Pulliam’s bankruptcy schedules listed car’s value at $80,000 and the trailer at $10,000.
In October 2010, a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee traveled to Pulliam’s Corvallis residence and saw the Thunderbird parked in a garage connected to the guesthouse. Sometime between October 4th and October 9th, 2010, the Thunderbird and trailer disappeared. Pulliam stated that he had no idea what happened to the Thunderbird. In later proceedings, Pulliam changed his story and claimed he had given the car to his son in 2005. Pulliam then falsely testified under oath that he thought his son took the car and trailer, but he did not know that for certain.
Pulliam later admitted that he had lied under oath and stated that he had called his son and told him to come get the car. Evidence presented at trial showed that in fact Pulliam hid the car shortly after the Chapter 7 Trustee visited Pulliam’s residence. Pulliam’s sentencing is set for January 23, 2014, in Missoula, Montana.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.