Nov. 18—A former Saco school board member has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Portland to committing bankruptcy fraud.
Christina Shea, 45, filed for bankruptcy in Portland in April 2020 using her husband’s name and information after unsuccessfully attempting to file for bankruptcy four times before under her own name.
Shea was elected to the Saco School Board in July 2020. She resigned during a board meeting a little more than a year later, on Aug. 25, 2021 — a year before she pleaded guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud.
“Due to some unanticipated and deeply personal circumstances, I am resigning as finance chair and School Board member effective Sept. 3,” Shea said at the time. “I regret not being able to fully serve my elected time … and am deeply sorry to my Ward 1 neighbors.”
Her court records were unsealed Wednesday. A sentencing date has not yet been set. Shea’s court-appointed attorney, Heather Gonzales, did not respond to a voicemail asking to speak with Shea or discuss sentencing. A voicemail left on Shea’s campaign phone number asking to discuss the case also was not returned.
Those documents indicate Shea and her husband were at risk of eviction from a home in Saco, where they had lived for at least 10 years, after they were unable to make the required payments on their mortgage in November 2017.
After failing to make the payments within a 90-day foreclosure period ordered by a York County district court judge, Shea filed four petitions for bankruptcy in federal court from 2018 to early 2021. Every time she filed a petition, she was automatically given temporary protection from eviction until the bankruptcy court issued its decision.
Then she used her spouse’s name on a fifth petition, without his knowledge.
She admitted to using his name, Social Security number and a fake email address, forging his name on a $310 money order to the Bankruptcy Court, and impersonating him during an online counseling credit course that’s required in bankruptcy filings.
Federal records show Shea was officially charged the same day she entered a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office: Aug. 31, 2022. Her case was investigated by the FBI.
A federal judge will determine Shea’s sentence with recommendations from her public defense attorney and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine. She could serve up to five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.