SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kulvir Singh Cheema, 59, of Ripon, pleaded guilty today to filing a false bankruptcy declaration, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, when Cheema, the owner of a trucking company, filed for bankruptcy in April 2011, he provided false information about his employment, income, residence, and other facts. He also concealed certain assets such as trucks and bank accounts that he controlled and that were held in other names. In addition, in January 2010, in contemplation of filing for bankruptcy, Cheema fraudulently transferred ownership of his residence in Ripon from himself to another person. Cheema’s untruthful statements on his bankruptcy petition were designed to give the false impression that he was bankrupt with no assets. Through those falsehoods, Cheema was able to discharge over $2 million in debt, keep his trucks and business running, and repay a close friend. The value of the debts and assets concealed as a result of Cheema’s deception was between $150,000 and $250,000.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian A. Fogerty, André M. Espinosa, and Miriam Hinman are prosecuting the case.
Cheema is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. on Oct. 22. Cheema faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.