LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Cyndi Carter, a resident of St. Petersburg, Florida, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment yesterday in the United States District Court in Tampa, Florida. Carter, age 37, had previously pled guilty in April of this year to one count of bankruptcy fraud and one count of making a false declaration in a bankruptcy proceeding as charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury.
Carter pled guilty to a scheme to thwart IMC Mortgage Company’s efforts to
foreclose upon a mortgage on a residential property located at 2501 21 Street South in st St. Petersburg, where Carter lived with her father. Between October 1999 and March 2003, Carter and her father filed ten voluntary petitions seeking bankruptcy relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Tampa. Each of the ten cases were dismissed by the Bankruptcy Court for failure to pay the filing fees or failure to comply with the requirements and rules of the Bankruptcy Code.
However, each of the filings automatically invoked a provision of the Bankruptcy Code known as the “automatic stay”, which prevented IMC from taking any further foreclosure action. In August 2003, IMC successfully foreclosed on the property and sought Carter’s eviction from the property. Between September 2003 and May 2004, Carter and her father filed three more bankruptcy petitions. All three caseswere dismissed by the Bankruptcy Court. In the second of these cases, United States Bankruptcy Judge Thomas E. Baynes, Jr., entered an Order stating that any further bankruptcy cases filed by Carter “will be deemed in bad faith and the Court shall grant relief from stay to [IMC] on an ex parte basis”.
On June 28, 2004, after the entry of Judge Baynes’ Order, Carter filed a voluntary
bankruptcy petition in the name of her deceased mother Ethel Carter and forged her
mother name on the petition. The case was ultimately dismissed after the fraudulent
petition was discovered by IMC and the Bankruptcy Court.
In sentencing Carter to a term of imprisonment longer than suggested by the United
States Sentencing Guidelines, United Stated District Judge James D. Whittemore stated
that Carter’s conduct constituted a serious abuse of the bankruptcy process.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and was
prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dennis Moore.