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Former Buffalo man pleads guilty to false bankruptcy statement

A 42-year-old Collegeville, Pa. man, who previously lived in Buffalo, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara Friday to making false statements in a bankruptcy proceeding.

David Zaniewski filed for bankruptcy in 2008 to beat an American Express credit card debt of more than $119,000, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Maura K. O’Donnell.

Zaniewski got an American Express card in July 2007 and began running up charges for airfare, hotels, furniture, cemetery plots, gift cards and foreign currency. In September 2007, he took the card to the Bert’s Bike store in Orchard Park where he and a store representative made a transaction involving $36,000 worth of purchases; instead of merchandise, he received cash, according to O’Donnell. When he filed for bankruptcy in May 2008, he made materially false statements in proceedings linked to his filing, the prosecutors said.

He faces a federal prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced Sept. 30.