Casper Couple Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering, Tax Evasion
A Casper couple pleaded guilty to charges related to bankruptcy fraud in federal court this week.
Ashley Knight pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering during a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl on Monday
Tuesday, James Edward Knight, II, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion in a separate hearing before Skavdahl.
Each count of money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment.
Tax evasion is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment.
The judge set their sentencing dates for June 8.
As a condition of their plea agreements, the government will dismiss one count of concealment of bankruptcy assets and one count of false statement under oath for James Knight at his sentencing.
Likewise, the government will dismiss one count of concealment of bankruptcy assets, one count of false statement, and 10 money laundering counts for Ashley Knight at her sentencing.
They are free on bond.
According to the July 20 indictment, the Knights incorporated Ikon Welding on Jan. 7, 2010, and dissolved the company three years later. On April 2, 2014, James Knight's mother-in-law organized Superior Fabrication, LLC.
On Sept. 25, 2014, Ashley and James Knight filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition, but did not disclose any interest in businesses; James Knight said he was an only employee of Superior Fabrication; the couple said they had no cash on hand, nor any savings, checking or other financial accounts; and did not disclose certain items of personal property.
Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service determined James Knight's total unpaid tax liability was $285,810 and determined Ikon Welding taxes from October 2011 through June 2012 was $89,160.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said in the indictment that bankruptcy provides debtors with an opportunity to obtain a fresh financial start through the discharge of their debts, but the discharge depends on the debtors telling the truth.
The Knights didn't do that, according to the indictment.
They fraudulently concealed from creditors and the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee property including the ownership of Superior Fabrication, its bank accounts, cash savings and personal property.
They lied under oath in a bankruptcy court hearing.
James Knight evaded the payment of income taxes by using his mother-in-law to conceal his ownership of Superior Fabrication, owned assets registered in the names of other individuals, used cash extensively including buying a boat, and filed a false bankruptcy petition.
Ashley Knight was charged with 12 counts of money laundering -- concealing and disguising the control of the proceeds, knowing the property was in the financial transactions represented the proceeds of unlawful activities -- for cashing and endorsing checks and purchasing a money order totaling nearly $40,000.