Physician Sentenced for Bankruptcy Fraud
Yet another case that demonstrates how vital it is to be honest when filing for bankruptcy protection. It’s difficult to understand what drives people to misrepresent their financial affairs when seeking bankruptcy protection when the risks are so high.
A former Rockford, Il. physician was sentenced Thursday in federal court for making false statements in a bankruptcy case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced that Lynn Y. Zoiopoulos, also known as Lynn Shelton-Zoiopoulos, 60, now of Chicago, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from her grandmother’s estate. Zoiopoulos, who pleaded guilty to the charge in February, admitted in a plea agreement that she lied about her interest in the estate of her deceased grandmother when she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in August 2009. She misled the bankruptcy trustee about her status as executor of the estate in order to conceal her ongoing embezzlement of funds from the estate’s bank account.
According to the plea agreement, Zoiopoulos opened a bank account for the estate, with the balance growing to more than $800,000 by May 2006. In October 2008, she used $550,000 of the estate’s money in that account to purchase an annuity contract, from which she later embezzled all of the funds.
Zoiopoulos then violated her fiduciary duty to the estate by embezzling assets and converting them to her own personal use. Officials say Zoiopoulos tried to conceal her embezzlements by sending $35,000 and a letter about investing the estate’s funds to her sister in order to trick her into believing the estate was being properly administered. In addition to the prison term, District Judge Frederick Kapala ordered Zoiopoulos to serve six months of supervised release and to pay restitution of $858,765.68.