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Woman charged with bankruptcy fraud

| June 19, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Vicki Jean Fehrs, 55, formerly of Mullan, was indicted by a Coeur d'Alene federal grand jury on Tuesday for four counts of bankruptcy fraud stemming from a bankruptcy case she filed in August 2005.

The indictment alleges that Fehrs committed a scheme to defraud her creditors and the bankruptcy trustee by transferring a house she owned in Mullan to her teenage son to protect her interest in it from creditors while discharging over $500,000 in unsecured debt.

The indictment further alleges that Fehrs made false statements in bankruptcy documents, that during a bankruptcy trial she gave false testimony under oath concerning details about the house, and that she concealed $47,995 in proceeds from the sale of the house from the bankruptcy trustee and creditors.

She will make her initial appearance in federal court in Coeur d'Alene on July 20. The maximum statutory penalty for bankruptcy fraud is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence following conviction, however, would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. sentencing guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence.

"Though financial times are tough, trust and honesty are still the bedrock upon which our economy and court system are based," U.S. Attorney Tom Moss said. "Fraud in bankruptcy proceedings will be prosecuted."

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in cooperation with the United States Trustee Program.

An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence.

The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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