Fresno, California - Tuesday, Barry Halajian, 56, of Fresno, was found guilty of two counts of filing false liens on federal bankruptcy judges, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
The District and Magistrate Judges in the Eastern District of California were recused and U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Bastian from the Eastern District of Washington heard the case. Halajian waived his right to a jury trial, and after hearing the evidence, Judge Bastian returned his verdict late Tuesday afternoon.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, in 2010, Halajian initiated a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fresno. Two years later, he initiated a Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceeding in the same court. On June 29, 2012, the Chapter 9 bankruptcy was dismissed. On July 17, 2012, Halajian filed with the California Secretary of State a series of liens on the personal property of two federal bankruptcy judges in the Eastern District of California, listing them as debtors and himself as the secured party
“Filing bogus liens against federal officials for purposes of harassment is a crime,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “Those who commit it are asking to be prosecuted.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick Delahunty and Duce Rice are prosecuting the case.
Halajian will be scheduled for sentencing by Judge Bastian in February or March of 2016. Halajian faces a maximum statutory penalty on each count of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.