TOPEKA — A California man who once made his living training bankruptcy petition preparers has been indicted on charges of making false statements in his own bankruptcy, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
At the time of the crime, the indictment alleges, the defendant was facing bankruptcy fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Kansas.
Robert Andrew Blechman, 41, Culver City, Calif., is charged with one count of conspiracy to make false statements in a bankruptcy petition and one count of criminal contempt of court.
Co-defendant Michael N. Sofris, 46, Beverly Hills, Calif., also is charged in both counts.
The indictment states that Blechman was indicted June 11, 2008, along with another man and charged with conspiring to operate a company called Stopco, which offered customers a service it falsely claimed would prevent them from losing their homes to foreclosure.
In July 2009, Blechman was found guilty on 13 counts. On Jan. 4, a judge entered a forfeiture order against him of more than $1 million. He also was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.
On May 17, Blechman filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in California, with Sofris serving as his legal representative. Nowhere in the documents they filed in Blechman's bankruptcy did they disclose that Blechman had been convicted in federal court or that he had been ordered to forfeit more than $1 million in the case. They also failed to disclose the fact that the United States was an unsecured creditor for that amount.
Other indictments handed down by a federal grand jury meeting in Topeka include:
* Fernando Meraz, 36, and Eminda J. Ramirez, 34, both of Las Cruces, N.M., are charged with possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. The crime is alleged to have occurred Sept. 17 in Wabaunsee County.
* Michelle Laverne Flippin, 34, who is in custody in the Saline County Jail, is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and one count of unlawful possession of ammunition after a felony conviction. The crimes are alleged to have occurred July 18 in Saline County.
* Gaylyn Page, 26, Topeka, is charged with three counts of distributing crack cocaine and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in August and September 2010 in Shawnee County.
* John Jason Michael, 27, who is in custody in the Norton Correctional Facility, is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction, and one count of possession of a stolen firearm. The crimes are alleged to have occurred April 4 in Shawnee, Coffey and Jefferson counties.
* Pascacio Lopez-Alvarez, 34, Mojave, Calif., is charged with one count of possession and intent to distribute cocaine. The crime is alleged to have occurred Sept. 13 in Wabaunsee County.