A Calabasas-based real estate developer has been indicted for bankruptcy fraud and concealing money from creditors in shell companies, according to the Department of Justice.

Mark Handel, 66, was charged Friday in a nine-count indictment with one count of making a false statement in a bankruptcy case, two counts of hiding assets belonging to a bankruptcy estate, one count of falsely testifying under oath at a bankruptcy proceeding and five counts of money laundering.


Prosecutors allege that Handel worked as a developer for 30 years and in 2015, he filed a Chapter 11 petition in United States Bankruptcy Court in Woodland Hills. Later, he allegedly made false statements to avoid debts exceeding $10 million that he owed to creditors, including California Bank & Trust.


Handel, whose MWH Development Corp. has been based in Burbank, allegedly feigned unemployment and no income while maintaining a financial interest in properties in Los Angeles, Orange and Alameda counties, from which he allegedly derived $4.6 million in kickbacks between 2008 and 2016. Also, prosecutors allege he used corporations in his wife’s name to conceal his assets.


Handel’s arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 16. If convicted of all charges, he could face a statuary maximum sentence of 120 years in federal prison.