Bronxville resident John Roesser, age 52, was arrested on Tuesday morning, March 28 on charges that he allegedly lied to bankruptcy court and the Internal Revenue Service about receiving millions of dollars in order to receive bankruptcy protections while still keeping his assets and not paying his bills, according to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
According to federal officials, Roesser was a partner at three multinational law firms between March 2013 to around January 2018. During this time, he earned substantial income but also incurred a large amount of income tax liability.
Roesser then continued being an attorney until around June 2020, when he resigned from the New York bar after admitting to misappropriating client funds.
After this, by 2022 Roesser eventually owned the IRS and others over $3 million while owning both a house that he estimated to be worth millions of dollars and an Aston Martin Rapide luxury sports car. Instead of paying the millions he owed, Roesser filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in February 2022.
Under the terms of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a debtor can remain in possession of their assets but must propose a plan of reorganization which the creditors then vote on.
In order to do this, Roesser told the court that he would be receiving millions of dollars and then be able to pay his debts while keeping his house and car. After this, he allegedly filed a false declaration and submitted fake records that indicated his receipt of these millions of dollars in funds.
According to the US Attorney's Office, Roesser did this in an effort to remain in control of his assets while avoiding the payment of his debts.
Around Friday, March 3, some of these falsified records were withdrawn by Roesser's attorney in the bankruptcy, and his Chapter 11 bankruptcy was dismissed. Because of this, creditors could then take action to seize Roesser's assets in order to pay his debts.
As a result of these alleged actions, Roesser is now charged with the following:
- One count of falsification of records in bankruptcy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison;
- One count of false oaths and claims in bankruptcy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
US Attorney Damian Williams commented on the case, saying that Roesser's actions degraded a system "that helps so many."
"Bankruptcy is a lifeline for many people who need its protections to keep their lives together," Williams continued, adding, "he should have known better — he used to be a lawyer."
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