A former Ventura County couple, forced to declare bankruptcy after losing a lawsuit, were arrested Wednesday on federal indictments charging them with lying in bankruptcy court to shield $1 million in embezzled funds and $9.5 million in furs and jewelry.
Robert and June Dubin, former residents of Somis, face charges of bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
In addition, Robert Dubin, 52, is charged with filing false income tax returns. Prosecutors say he failed to mention more than $1 million they believe he embezzled from one of his accounting clients.
The Dubins, who now live in Palm Springs, were each released on $25,000 bail and are awaiting trial. They could not be reached for comment.
But the indictment paints a vivid picture of a couple scrambling to protect their most valuable assets after losing a lawsuit over a car accident.
The story begins in 1987, when June Dubin was involved in an accident that left another motorist dead, said Special Assistant U.S. Atty. Steven Jay Katzman. After a civil trial two years later, the Dubins were ordered to pay $4.4 million in damages.
Three months after the court ruling, the Dubins declared bankruptcy. But the lawyer for the other party suspected they had not disclosed all their assets to the court, Katzman said. The lawyer contacted IRS and FBI agents, who launched an investigation.
According to the indictments, the agents charge that:
* Robert Dubin, an accountant operating in Hollywood and Encino, embezzled more than $1 million from a client, Arrow Highway Steel. He did not report this income in bankruptcy papers or on tax returns.
* June Dubin, 54, moved jewelry, coins and crystal to her mother's house and failed to list these valuables as assets in the bankruptcy proceeding.
* The Dubins failed to include 10 fur coats, worth an estimated $42,400 in their statement of net worth.
* The couple transferred $82,000 to a corporation, made up of their children and stepchildren. The corporation then bought the Dubins a home in Palm Springs.
* The couple opened new bank accounts to conceal some $234,800 in expected income. The income was not included in the assets listed for the bankruptcy.
* The Dubins denied possessing or concealing these assets when questioned in a 1990 court hearing.
Katzman said the suspected embezzlement came to light because of the bankruptcy investigation. Since embezzlement is not a federal crime, prosecutors are charging Dubin with making false statements. Altogether he faces nine counts of conspiracy, bankruptcy fraud and making false statements.
His wife, June, faces one count of conspiracy and one count of fraud.