According to the FBI, Marshall E. Home, 81, of Tucson, was arrested on July 5, 2011, on two counts of false claims in bankruptcy. According to the criminal complaint, Marshall Home, the owner of Individual Rights Party; Mortgage Rescue Service, charged homeowners $500 to help them stop the foreclosure process.
According to Home and his website, he could help homeowners by using his service to make them part of his “larger overall bankruptcy liquidation.” Homes is a self-proclaimed “sovereign citizen” who has strong anti-government beliefs.
The FBI criminal complaint outlines the charges against Homes which include information about a bankruptcy petition which he filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Tucson. According to the criminal complaint, Homes told the bankruptcy court that he had a claim that totaled more than $3 billion against the United States.
Homes filed or encouraged more than 173 false claims to be filed against the United States in the Bankruptcy Court from the individual debtors who were participating in the “Mortgage Rescue Service.” These bankruptcy claims involved mostly loans from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and totaled more than $2.5 trillion dollars.
What did the government have to say about Home’s actions? According to the U.S. District Dennis K. Burke, “The anti-government paranoia of so-called ‘sovereign citizens’ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when they use their false claims and fraudulent practices to rip-off others. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue and prosecute those who make false claims against the government to cover for their wrongdoing.”
The FBI was also not impressed by Home’s actions. “We are a nation of laws, and the defendant’s alleged conduct undermines the laws of the United States Bankruptcy Courts, and the integrity of the system as a whole,” according to Steven R. Hooper the FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Division. “The FBI and our federal partners will continue to investigate individuals or groups who commit fraud against the government.”
Homes, if convicted of making a false bankruptcy claim, could face up to five years in prison. He also may be fined a maximum of $250,000.
Homes will have his day in court and a charge of false bankruptcy claims does not prove he is guilty.
Filing for Bankruptcy
As illustrated by this story, bankruptcy fraud is a criminal action which can carry very serious fines and penalties. If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy, it is best to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer to make sure you are meeting the guidelines outlined by federal and state bankruptcy laws.
Filing for bankruptcy protection may be necessary to stop home foreclosure, bank account levies, wage garnishments, creditor harassment and property repossession, but it is an important financial decision which should be done only after seeking legal counsel.
Bankruptcy can have severe financial consequences. It is a serious financial decision which is not right for everyone.
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