Jacksonville man sentenced to prison in bankruptcy fraud scheme

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn sentenced a Jacksonville man to six months in prison Thursday for his attempts to hide personal income from the court in bankruptcy proceedings.

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, in a statement to FOX6 News, said Judge Blackburn also ordered David Joseph Duckett, 42, to serve three years supervised release after completing his prison sentence and to forfeit $25,900 to the government as proceeds of illegal activity.

Vance said Duckett pleaded guilty in June 2009 to bankruptcy fraud and structuring the purchases of U.S. Postal Service Money Orders to avoid financial reporting requirements. According to his plea agreement, Duckett under-reported his monthly income by more than $2,000 on financial statements filed with the court. He swore under oath that the income he reported was accurate.

Vance said Duckett also tried to conceal $243,440 in income from the court by spending that amount on 259 money orders, ranging in amount from $400 to $1,000, between Feb. 8 and Oct. 23, 2008.

"Filing for bankruptcy provides protections and a fresh start to individuals facing financial problems, but for the process to work, the people seeking that fresh start must be honest with the court and its trustees about their income, what they own and what they owe," Vance said in the statement. "Debtors who try to manipulate those facts undermine the system and its ability to help debtors and creditors, alike."