Idaho Falls man sentenced to 5 years in prison for knowingly and fraudulently concealing assets in bankruptcy proceedings | USAO ID
POCATELLO — Andrew Welch, 46, of Idaho Falls, was sentenced in a U.S. District Court to five years in federal prison for concealment of assets, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today. U.S. Chief District Judge David C. Nye also ordered Welch to pay a $25,000 fine and serve one year of supervised release following his prison sentence. Welch pleaded guilty to the charge on July 29, 2020. As part of the plea deal, Welch also agreed to give up $25,000.
According to court records, Welch, a former pharmacist from Ketchum, Idaho, filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 3, 2014, after the State Board of Pharmacy ‘Idaho revoked its pharmacist’s license. In the bankruptcy petition, signed under penalty of perjury, Welch listed significant debts and almost no assets. However, after he persisted in claiming he had no assets during the early stages of the bankruptcy proceedings, the fraud scheme fell apart when the US Trust Program and debtors discovered that Welch had an interest. in large undeclared assets that he had placed under the control of close confidants.
Ultimately, Welch knowingly and fraudulently failed to disclose as part of the bankruptcy proceedings more than $250,000 in cash and securities that were held in an investment account in another person’s name. Welch also knowingly and fraudulently failed to disclose his purchase of real estate in Idaho Falls for $123,500 in January 2012, and the subsequent fraudulent transfer of the real estate to a second person, which provided Welch with no value for the real estate.
In addition to concealing assets, Welch falsely testified under oath during the bankruptcy proceedings that he had no interest in the aforementioned investment account or real estate, even though in truth Welch knew and intentionally concealed those interests. .
The five-year sentence imposed by the United States District Court was the legal maximum for the crime of receiving assets. The court imposed the sentence, in part, based on findings that Welch obstructed justice by concealing assets from the U.S. probation office after the guilty plea, and because Welch failed to adequately accept the responsibility for the offence.
“This significant penalty should deter persons who intend to commit fraudulent bankruptcy,” U.S. Attorney Davis said. “When a bankrupt debtor like Mr. Welch hides bankrupt money and assets, we will work vigorously with our law enforcement partners to ensure that bankruptcy violators are held accountable. I commend the IRS for its efforts in this matter. I also thank the US Trustee’s Program for referring this important matter to our office for criminal prosecution.
“Today’s conviction of Andrew Welch for bankruptcy fraud is a victory for those who are honest in their dealings with the courts,” said Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office . “The bankruptcy system is based on a debtor making full disclosure of all assets and liabilities. When individuals use the bankruptcy system to escape their debts to the government and their creditors, they are engaging in criminal activity. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to work with our partners in the US Attorney’s Office and lend financial expertise to these complex investigations.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
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