Kenai woman sentenced to prison for bankruptcy fraud

Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) – A Kenai woman was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for making a materially false statement in a bankruptcy case.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Saray Consuelo Sarmiento Angarita Lockwood, 58, ran a successful dental clinic in Kenai with her late husband. In April 2019, Lockwood and her husband filed for bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy proceeding, Lockwood made false statements under penalty of perjury about an entity they owned called Strategic Innovations LLC.

In October 2015, Lockwood and her husband opened two bank accounts in the name of Strategic Innovations LLC, the initial deposits for which were checks drawn on Lockwood’s husband’s retirement and investment accounts. Lockwood and her husband were the sole signatories on the bank accounts, and from 2015 through at least 2019, Lockwood performed most of the deposits and withdrawals into and from the accounts.

In May 2021, in connection with their bankruptcy, Lockwood and her husband responded to questions posed by the U.S. Trustee. On one question, Lockwood falsely claimed that family members had loaned Strategic Innovations LLC money to purchase at least four properties seized and auctioned off by the IRS as part of its efforts to collect the Lockwoods’ outstanding federal income tax liabilities.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Joshua M. Kindred ordered Lockwood to serve three years of supervised release. When Judge Kindred delivered his sentence, he cited general deterrence as a factor in his sentencing decision, explaining that white collar criminals should not be treated differently from other criminals who differ in socioeconomic status. He stated that “criminal conduct is criminal conduct,” and it should result in proper sanctions.

United States Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.

“For over 10 years, Ms. Lockwood executed calculated efforts to evade millions in tax payments and filed false statements in bankruptcy court to perpetuate the scheme. She took advantage of the system and disregarded all warnings given by federal agents,” said U.S. Attorney Tucker. “White collar criminals, like Ms. Lockwood, that evade taxes and file false statements to avoid their debts harm law abiding citizens. Absolutely no one is above the law, and my office will ensure that anyone who chooses to commit fraud will be aggressively prosecuted and held accountable for the damage they cause.”

“Ms. Lockwood was sentenced on a single count of bankruptcy fraud, yet all of her actions served the sole purpose of evading millions in taxes. This is not a victimless crime. The victims of tax evasion are you, me, and all the taxpayers in Alaska,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Seattle Field Office Special Agent in Charge Adam Jobes. “IRS-CI, in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, will continue to investigate false claims in bankruptcy court and tax evasion, to foster confidence in these systems for the American people.”

IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael J. Heyman and Tom Bradley, and Trial Attorney Ahmed Almudallal of the Justice Department’s Tax Division Western Criminal Enforcement Section prosecuted the case.