The bookkeeper for defunct compounder Advance Resins Corp. pleaded guilty on Sept. 28 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud for the Chicopee, Mass., firm. Assistant U.S. District Attorney Jeffrey Kinder said Karen Bruck will be sentenced Dec. 28. Mark Bruck, her husband and former owner of Advance Resins, faces trial Dec. 4 for arson, fraud and other charges.
An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Chicopee Fire Department led to the indictment in February.
The indictment charges that Mark Bruck set fire to an Advance Resins plant and warehouse on March 5, 1994, to defraud MassWest Insurance Co. of West Springfield, Mass., and that the Brucks inflated the value of property destroyed in the fire.
It alleged that Mark Bruck obtained an additional $1.9 million in insurance coverage for his business about a week before the fire and directed employees to move used equipment and inventory into the warehouse before the fire.
It also charged that the Brucks defrauded banks on sales and inventory between 1986 and 1994 to obtain loans.
Advance Resins and sister company Westover Color & Chemical Corp. filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in April 1994 and the firms' assets were auctioned in August.
If convicted on all counts, Mark Bruck faces maximum penalties of 115 years in prison and $1.75 million in fines. Karen Bruck faces up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.