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Chicago — The U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday that it has charged 78people nationwide–including nine attorneys–with alleged federal bankruptcyfraud and related offenses over the past several months. The 69 separate prosecutions were filed in 36 judicial districts, includingIllinois, California and Georgia, the department said. The crackdown byJustice Department officials, is part of “Operation Truth or Consequences,”an initiative to combat alleged bankruptcy fraud. In Chicago, three bankruptcy attorney defendants in separate incidentsallegedly swindled clients out of home equity assets while purporting tohelp them save their homes from foreclosure. The prosecutions also allegedefendants forged documents, made false statements, illegally receivedgovernment loans and collectively concealed $3 million in assets. The nine attorneys are: James Joseph Everett of Phoenix, Arizona; RolandColton, Calif.; Tommy McPherson, Florida; Thomas Holstein, William RamonJackson, Lori Westerfield, Norton Helton and Edward Varga, Illinois; andRobin Grassel Musher, Pennsylvania.

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