Idaho Falls Man, Andrew Welch Sentenced to 5 Years for Knowingly and Fraudulently Concealing Assets in Bankruptcy Proceeding
POCATELLO (STL.News) Andrew Welch, 46, of Idaho Falls, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to five years in federal prison for concealment of assets, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today. Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye also ordered Welch to pay a $25,000 fine, and to serve one year of supervised release following his prison sentence. Welch pleaded guilty to the charge on July 29, 2020. As part of the plea agreement, Welch also agreed to forfeit $25,000.
According to court records, Welch, a former pharmacist in Ketchum, Idaho, filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on April 3, 2014, after the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy revoked his pharmacist license. In the bankruptcy petition, signed under penalty of perjury, Welch listed significant debts and almost no assets. However, after persisting in the claim that he had no assets during the initial stages of the bankruptcy proceeding, the scheme to defraud unraveled when the U.S. Trustee Program and debtors discovered that Welch had an interest in significant unreported assets which he had placed under the control of close confidants.
In the end, Welch knowingly and fraudulently failed to disclose in the bankruptcy proceedings more than $250,000 in cash and securities which were held in an investment account in the name of another individual. Welch also knowingly and fraudulently failed to disclose his purchase of real property in Idaho Falls for $123,500 in January 2012, and the ensuing fraudulent transfer of the real property to a second individual, who did not provide Welch with any value for the real property.
In addition to concealing assets, Welch falsely testified under oath during the bankruptcy proceedings that he had no interest in the aforementioned investment account or real property, even though in truth Welch knew and was intentionally concealing such interests.
The five-year sentence imposed by the U.S. District Court was the statutory maximum for the crime of concealment of assets. The court imposed the sentence, in part, based on findings that Welch obstructed justice by concealing assets from the U.S. Probation Office after the guilty plea, and because Welch did not adequately accept responsibility for the offense.
“This significant sentence should deter individuals who intend to commit bankruptcy fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Davis. “When a bankruptcy debtor like Mr. Welch hides money and assets in bankruptcy, we will work vigorously with our law enforcement partners to ensure that bankruptcy offenders are held accountable. I commend the IRS for their efforts in this case. I also thank the U.S. Trustee’s Program for referring this important matter to our office for criminal prosecution.”
“Today’s sentencing of Andrew Welch for bankruptcy fraud is a win for those who are honest in their court dealings,” said Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office. “The bankruptcy system is based on a debtor making a full disclosure of all assets and liabilities. When individuals use the bankruptcy system to evade their debt obligations to the government and their creditors, they are engaging in criminal activity. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to work with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and lend financial expertise in these complex investigations.”
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.