Wallingford man sentenced to two years in federal prison in elaborate bankruptcy fraud

Wallingford man sentenced to two years in federal prison in elaborate bankruptcy fraud

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HARTFORD — A Wallingford man was sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud. 

Joel Riley, 48, of Wallingford was sentenced in federal court in Hartford on Thursday. He is free on $100,000 bond and required to report to prison on March 25. 

According to court documents and statements in court, between April 2015 and July 2016 Riley fraudulently obtained $211,142 in loans in the name of a woman without her knowledge or permission, U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Thomas Carson said in a statement.

On Dec. 15, 2016 Riley went to an attorney and claimed to be the power of attorney for the woman whose identity he used on the debts. Riley told the attorney he wanted to file a bankruptcy petition on the woman’s behalf, but the attorney said the woman would need to be present. In June 2017 Riley and another woman claiming to be the victim went to the attorney’s office to file a bankruptcy petition that listed unsecured debts of about $277,000.

The victim tried to use a credit card later that month and was informed of the bankruptcy petition. She met with the attorney and told him she never filed for bankruptcy. Riley emailed the attorney the same day and said he wasn’t in his right frame of mind and needed to “make this right,” Carson said. The bankruptcy court eventually dismissed the false bankruptcy petition. 

Carson was employed by the state Judicial Branch as a human resources manager when he received the fraudulent loans. He was initially arrested on May 7, 2018 and ordered to pay restitution of $211,142 to the financial institutions.

Carson said the investigation showed that in at least 19 separate instances over more than a decade Riley obtained or tried to obtain loans using the identities of relatives without their knowledge of permission. 

Twitter: @LaurenSellewRJ