A Utah couple, Cortney S. Valentine and Nicolette P. Valentine, of Liberty, Utah, were sentenced on March 2 in Idaho for bankruptcy fraud. According to the plea agreement, Cortney Valentine, 40, defrauded U.S. Bank into lending him $362,000. He later filed for bankruptcy. During his time in bankruptcy he sold a house for $1,150,000 and failed to report the sale to the bankruptcy court, instead, using the proceeds for “living expenses.”
Nicolette, 37, pleaded guilty to defrauding Mountain West Bank when she made false statements that induced it to loan her $42,766 supposedly to refinance her truck. Instead she deposited the money and used it for “living expenses.” One has to wonder why Mountain West Bank gave her the money outright instead of sending it directly to the bank that had the loan she was ostensibly paying off. Be that as it may, the stupidity of the victim is no defense to fraud. Hopefully someone at Mountain West Bank at least received a severe reprimand, if not the loss of his or her job.
Cortney received 40 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release and payment of restitution. Nicolette was sentenced to time served, five years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service.
There are big signs in all the trustees’ meeting rooms that state “The FBI Investigates Bankruptcy Crimes.” Believe them. Cortney and Nicolette do now, though they apparently didn’t at their 341 Meeting.