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Idaho Falls man sentenced for fraud

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POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-An Idaho Falls man was sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine for concealment of assets.  

U.S. Attorney Bart Davis said Andrew Welch, 46, was a former pharmacist in Ketchum who filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on April 3, 2014 after the state Board of Pharmacy revoked his license.

In a bankruptcy petition, Welch listed significant debts and almost no assets.  According to court records, the scheme to defraud unraveled when the U.S. Trustee Program and debtors discovered Welch had an interest in significant unreported assets, which he had placed under the control of close confidants.

Ultimately, Welch knowingly and fraudulently failed to disclose more than $250,000 in cash and securities that were held in an account in the name of another individual. He also failed to disclose the $123,500 purchase of Idaho Falls property, which was fraudulently transferred to a second individual.

Davis said the five-year sentence was the statutory maximum for the crime of concealment of assets.  He said the court imposed the sentence, in part, based on findings that Welch obstructed justice by concealing assets from the U.S. Probation Office after the guilty plea, and because Welch did not adequately accept responsibility for the offense.

“This significant sentence should deter individuals who intend to commit bankruptcy fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Davis. “When a bankruptcy debtor like Mr. Welch hides money and assets in bankruptcy, we will work vigorously with our law enforcement partners to ensure that bankruptcy offenders are held accountable. I commend the IRS for their efforts in this case. I also thank the U.S. Trustee’s Program for referring this important matter to our office for criminal prosecution.”

"Today’s sentencing of Andrew Welch for bankruptcy fraud is a win for those who are honest in their court dealings,” said Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office. “The bankruptcy system is based on a debtor making a full disclosure of all assets and liabilities. When individuals use the bankruptcy system to evade their debt obligations to the government and their creditors, they are engaging in criminal activity.”

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