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PA attorney charged with bankruptcy fraud

Pietro A. Barbieri, Esq., 61

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Philadelphia Division announce yesterday that indictments were filed charging Pennsylvania attorney Pietro A. Barbieri, Esq., 61, of Exton bankruptcy fraud, agent concealing property in bankruptcy, and attempted obstruction of official proceeding. Barbieri was retained by client Deborah Messner, 59, of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, for a divorce and bankruptcy matter.

The indictment states the Barbieri, told Messner to transfer possession of a Chevrolet Corvette to her father in February of 2009. According to the indictment in April of 2009, Barbieri allegedly advised Messner to set up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) where she could deposit the $193,000 which was proceeds from the divorce. According to the indictments, Barbieri advised Messner that “additional time will be required in order to protect this substantially larger fund from the grasp of the United States Bankruptcy Court.” It is further alleged that Barbieri later advised “If your funds are in place at the time you declare bankruptcy then they are not subject to confiscation according to Assistant United States Attorney Anita Eve.

It is also alleged that Barbieri, that on May 19, 2009 told Messner to withdraw $125,000 from an IRA account which he then filed for bankruptcy protect for Messner under federal protection of Chapter 7. According to court documents Messner claimed” $84,410 in exempt assets and sought relief from unsecured debts totaling $86,861.47. Messner allegedly concealed the transfer of the Chevrolet Corvette, the divorce settlement proceeds, all of her unsecured creditors, and $22,000 which she transferred to pay Barbieri’s fee.”

Continuing the deception, it is alleged that Barbieri and Messner then met with “at a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors and provided false statements about the bankruptcy petition’s accuracy; that they appeared at a Rule 2004 bankruptcy proceeding on October 7, 2009 and, again, Messner provided false testimony; and that Barbieri false represented that the IRA began to receive monies as part of the divorce settlement on August 1, 2009.”

The statue governing these alleged crimes come with a possible punishment for Barbieri of “a statutory maximum sentence of 35 years in prison, a fine of up to $1million, three years of supervised release, and a $400 special assessment; Messner faces a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $750,000, three years of supervised release, and a $300 special assessment. “

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