Melissa Sue Stamp, of Decatur, was sentenced for bankruptcy fraud May 27 by U.S. District Court Judge Gordon J. Quist.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Jarod J. Koopman, IRS Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Frost, U.S. Secret Service and Special Agent in Charge Anthony Mohatt, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General.
Melissa Stamp, a former Apple Queen Pageant winner, was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison followed by 20 months of supervised release and $184,500 in restitution. As part her plea agreement, Melissa Stamp agreed to forfeit $151,915 that represents the proceeds of the bankruptcy fraud.
According to court records, in 2012, Michael David Stamp owned Stamp Farms, LLC and Northstar Grain LLC, two agri-businesses located in Decatur, Michigan.
In late 2011, Michael David Stamp secured financing of more than $60 million from Wells Fargo Bank for these businesses. The financing was secured by agreements and mortgages given by the companies as well as by personal guarantees of Michael David Stamp and Melissa Stamp. By the fall of 2012, the companies had defaulted on the loans and in November 2012, filed bankruptcy.
Michael Stamp filed personal bankruptcy on the same day.
At the time of her guilty plea, Melissa Stamp admitted giving $75,000 to her brother and approximately $90,000 to her father to conceal the money from a bankruptcy case that was filed one month later by her husband, Michael David Stamp. Ms. Stamp also admitted concealing $50,000 of U.S. currency in a safe in her home. None of this money was disclosed to the bankruptcy court.
"Bankruptcy can be a haven for those in need of its protection. Individuals that abuse the bankruptcy process by concealing assets threaten the integrity of the system.
"The IRS will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney's Office and our other law enforcement partners to ensure the public's continued confidence in the system," said Jarod J. Koopman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.
"The United States urges anyone holding grains, crops, cash, farm equipment or other assets related to the Stamp Farms or Michael Stamp bankruptcy cases to contact the U.S. Attorney's Office at 616-808-2144. Persons who knowingly conceal assets belonging to a bankruptcy case are subject to criminal prosecution. Persons who voluntarily surrender concealed bankruptcy assets may avoid criminal charges," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. MacDonald.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee's Office, the IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Secret Service and the USDA Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. MacDonald is prosecuting the case.