TOP TEN BANKRUPTCY MISTAKES
The United States Bankruptcy Code, 11 USC 101 et seq. contains numerous provisions addressing issues of fraud. Essentially, the subject matter can be divided into two broad areas: (1) civil bankruptcy fraud and (2) criminal bankruptcy fraud. Each have their own serious implication with the main point to be made being … honestly and thoughtfully make full disclosures.
One of the primary purposes of filing your bankruptcy is to obtain a discharge which is essentially the order by which your obligations are cancelled. The discharge can be denied, however, for debtor misconduct in violating disclosure requirements, cooperation requirements and other misconduct. In the civil context 11 USC 727 (a) provides bases for the denial of a debtor’s discharge. One of which is under 11 USC 727(a)(4), which, in part, provides that the court shall not grant a discharge if the debtor “knowingly and fraudulently, in or in connection with the case… made false oath or an account…” Being denied a discharge is a disaster in itself but the criminal ramifications portend time in prison, too.
For instance, the making of a fraudulent statement in connection with a bankruptcy case may also constitute a crime. A violation of 18 USC 152 is a five year felony. A person who:
(1) Knowingly and fraudulently conceals from a custodian, trustee, marshal, or other officer of the court charged with the control or custody of property, or, in connection with a case under title 11, from creditors or the United States Trustee, any property belonging to the estate of a debtor;
(2) Knowingly and fraudulently makes a false oath or account in or in relation to any case under title 11; or,
(3) Knowingly and fraudulently makes a false declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, in or in relation to any case under title 11;
may be convicted under this felony statute.
In the end, your fresh start and freedom are too precious to risk. Always make a full and fair disclosure of assets in your bankruptcy case or do not file it.
[Guy Vining, a bankruptcy attorney, in metro-Detroit, maintains his office in Taylor, Michigan, where he serves the downriver communities of Monroe, South Rockwood, Gibraltar, Brownstown Township, Grosse Ile, Woodhaven, Trenton, Southgate, Riverview, Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Wayne, and Ecorse. If you or a family member of friend would like a no-obligation no cost consultation/financial analysis, just call or E-mail Guy Vining of Vining Law Group, P.L.C to schedule a meeting.]