Marvin Earl “Toby” Alback, 62, Billings, Montana, was arraigned and pled guilty to wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud. A sentencing date will be set later. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. Archer, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
Alback is an attorney in Billings, Montana, and handles numerous cases in bankruptcy court. In March 2008, a local Billings family hired Alback to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition on their behalf. When the family had difficulty making their mortgage payment, Alback instructed them to write their settlement and mortgage payments to him and he would deposit them with the bank. Alback deposited these checks into his trust account. Alback never made payments on the mortgage and, although he eventually paid them back, he caused significant back payments and late fees to avoid foreclosure. Investigation revealed that Alback also obtained the family’s 2008 tax refund check for $557 while he was representing them in the bankruptcy proceeding. Unbeknownst to the victims or the bankruptcy trustee, Alback deposited the check into his business operating account and used it for his own personal purposes. The tax refund check belonged to the bankruptcy estate.
During the course of that bankruptcy, Alback represented another woman in a wrongful termination lawsuit. The lawsuit settled for $12,500 in August 2009, and a check was written to the woman in that amount. While Alback was entitled to a share of that settlement, unbeknownst to the client, on September 29, 2009, Alback forged her name and deposited the $12,500 into his accounts and used it for his own personal benefit. The client received a check for her settlement in October 2009, but it bounced. She has not received any money that was paid for her wrongful termination lawsuit.
Alback faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service from a referral by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee’s Office.