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North Texas Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison For Bankruptcy Fraud Scheme

SHERMAN, Texas: According to Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei, the Eastern District of Texas sentenced a 47-year-old Arlington, Texas woman to federal prison for a bankruptcy fraud scheme.

Cotriena Machelle Embers pleaded guilty on August 10, 2020, to bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft and was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison Thursday by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant. The judge left open the possibility of ordering restitution to the identity theft victim in the case.

According to evidence presented in court, beginning in August 2017, Embers engaged in a scheme to defraud an apartment complex where she resided by falsely filing a bankruptcy petition using the name and social security number of a third party, without that person’s knowledge or authorization. The bankruptcy court ultimately discovered this fraudulent representation and ordered Embers to appear and explain her actions. 

The United States Trustee’s Office, charged with overseeing the integrity of bankruptcy cases in the federal courts, offered evidence in the bankruptcy case about what Embers had done and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, for investigation. After an FBI investigation, a federal grand jury indicted Embers in 2019, charging her with bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

“It is crucial that proceedings in bankruptcy cases in federal court are carried out with integrity. The United States Attorney’s Office is determined to prosecute individuals who undermine these cases by making false statements to the bankruptcy judge and parties,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas Ganjei. 

“We appreciate the work of the U.S. Trustee in investigating and referring these cases for prosecution to the U.S. Attorney and the FBI, and appreciate the valuable work done by the FBI in this investigation.”

The U.S. Trustee’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas prosecuted.