HOUSTON—Christopher Fields, 49, of Houston, has been arrested on charges of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, false oath, and false declaration, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
A Houston grand jury returned the four-count indictment June 27, 2012. He was taken into custody this morning and is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith at 2:00 p.m. today.
According to the indictment, Fields filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation case in October 2010 in Houston. During the course of the bankruptcy proceedings, Fields allegedly testified under oath that he had not received payment from any employment during the 60 days prior to the bankruptcy filing and he had not received any income during the previous three years. Fields owned an unincorporated business named Good Game Investments, which consisted of vending machines (distributing various candy and soda items) located in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas, as well as San Diego and Los Angeles, California. Fields also testified in other bankruptcy proceedings that his mother owned approximately 200 vending machines and that he serviced the machines and she paid him for his expenses, according to the indictment. During a deposition in the bankruptcy process, Fields’ mother allegedly stated she never received any money from the vending machines and that she had nothing to do with the maintenance, location, payment of taxes, or collection of money from the vending machines.
The indictment further alleges that at the time Fields filed his petition, he owned approximately 1,100 vending machines, and he maintained control of the location, maintenance, and income produced from the machines. The defendant allegedly concealed and converted property of the bankruptcy estate from the trustee, creditors, and the bankruptcy court in order to deceive, evade, and prevent the trustee from collecting and liquidating all the total assets of the estate for the benefit of creditors.
The bankruptcy fraud charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment, without parole, and a $250,000 fine, upon conviction. Fields also faces up to five years in prison for each count of concealment of assets, false oath, and false declaration in addition to a $250,000 fine.
The case, investigated by the FBI, is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Quincy L. Ollison.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.