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Illegal Immigrants Qualify for Bankruptcy Protection

Estela Martinez, 54, of Dallas has been sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison "for making false statements during her multiple bankruptcy filings," according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Martinez is one of several people to be charged recently  in Texas. The story makes no mention of their immigration status.

Four of the defendants have entered guilty pleas, two of whom have been sentenced. Another defendant is scheduled for trial, and two others remain fugitives, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña is cracking down on bankruptcy fraud in north Texas and has charged 7 individuals with felony offenses in just over a year.

Whether it applies in any of these cases is unclearn; however, bankruptcy laws can be exploited by illegal immigrants, as they "don’t require debtors to be U.S. citizens or legal residents...."

Martinez was unsuccessful the first time she filed for bankruptcy in 2009. She filed five more times between then and 2012.

The indictment said she omitted important information from court filings during her failed attempts to make it through bankruptcy court in Dallas, such as her previous bankruptcy filings and her social security number.

Federal authorities charged her with bankruptcy fraud.


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