Former VA Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Hiding Show Ponies in Ch.7

An ex-attorney in the state of Virginia has been sentenced to six months in federal prison for her failure to disclose the ownership of valuable show ponies when she and her husband filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

show poniesPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

Last October, Laura Wright pled guilty to concealing property in a bankruptcy proceeding after it was discovered she and her husband had spent almost $20,000 on show ponies in the weeks preceding the filing but did not include the assets in court documentation.

Wright and her husband, Stacey, filed for bankruptcy in September of 2014 in Roanoke, Virginia. At the time Wright was an attorney with bankruptcy experience, but court records indicate she surrendered her law license in 2018.

Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar’s office was referred the case by the U.S. Trustee’s Office. According to charging documents, the couple spent $18,000 on a show pony named Woodland Jack Sparrow in August 2014, just weeks before filing the bankruptcy petition.

During bankruptcy proceedings, Wright falsely testified under oath about ownership interests in other ponies and the source of the funds used to purchase Woodland Jack Sparrow. The investigation, a joint effort of the U.S. Trustee’s Office and the FBI, also revealed Wright submitted an affidavit to the bankruptcy trustee monitoring her case, knowing it contained materially false information.

“Laura Wright later bought and sold additional show ponies while the bankruptcy proceeding was pending,” a statement by Bubar’s office said. “Although required to do so, the Wrights failed to disclose to the bankruptcy court any ownership interest in or costs associated with show ponies.”

In exchange for her guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss three similar charges related to the filing. She’ll be serving her sentence in a West Virginia federal prison starting later this week. In addition to her prison time, Wright will be subject to six months of home confinement and a full two years of supervised release.

“It is with humility that Ms. Wright accepts the sentence imposed on her by the court as fair and reasonable,” Wright’s attorney told Law360. “She is committed to working diligently to right her wrong in ways that will allow her to regain the trust and respect she once enjoyed.”

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