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Bankruptcy Fraud Defense Lawyer

January 30, 2019 New York Lawyers

Many individuals and business owners file bankruptcy at some point in their lives. Bankruptcy can help you turn your financial life around and can really help you out, but it can get you into a lot of trouble if it’s not done the right way, too. You might have recently learned this if you’re facing federal bankruptcy fraud charges. Understanding a little more about what you are facing can help you get a better understanding of what you should do next.

What is Bankruptcy Fraud?

First, you need to understand the charges that you are facing. Typically, if you’re charged with bankruptcy fraud it is because federal law enforcement believes that you knowingly made a false statement when filing bankruptcy. If you were dishonest about your income or your assets, for example, this could be considered bankruptcy fraud.

Is Bankruptcy Fraud a Serious Offense?

Some people who file bankruptcy do not realize just how serious it is to commit bankruptcy fraud. It might not seem like a big deal to avoid adding one of your assets or to mention one of your debts, and you might not think that you will get caught anyway. Some people do end up flying under the radar, but if you’re caught, you could face serious consequences. If you are charged and then found guilty of committing bankruptcy fraud, you could face five years in a federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000 or both. Because of the severity of these charges, avoiding committing bankruptcy fraud in the first place is very important. If you are charged with this federal crime, then you absolutely must take your case seriously.

How Can You Avoid Bankruptcy Fraud When Filing Bankruptcy?

The best way to prevent yourself from dealing with this situation is to make sure that you are completely honest when you’re filling out your bankruptcy paperwork. Also, make sure that you are thorough when listing your creditors and assets and filling out your paperwork. Understanding the importance of honesty, taking your time when filling out your paperwork and working with a bankruptcy lawyer when filing are all steps that can help you avoid facing these charges.

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer if You’re Accused of Bankruptcy Fraud

As you might have read above, the consequences of being found guilty of bankruptcy fraud are very serious. If you want to avoid expensive fines and a potential prison sentence that will have to be served in a federal prison, then you will need to hire a bankruptcy fraud defense lawyer immediately.

What are the Possible Defenses for Bankruptcy Fraud?

You might realize that it’s a smart idea for you to hire an attorney to help you with your bankruptcy fraud case. However, once you have been accused of bankruptcy fraud, you might be scared that there is nothing that can be done to help your case. Your attorney might be able to use a variety of different defenses to help you, however.

For one thing, your lawyer could argue that you did not intentionally withhold information or share false information when filing bankruptcy. People do make mistakes when filling out the wealth of paperwork that has to be filled out when filing, and your lawyer can argue that you did not intentionally do anything wrong. Your lawyer could also argue that you did not make mistakes or intentional errors when filing bankruptcy at all. What your lawyer will do will depend on the specifics of your bankruptcy case and what you’re being accused of, so hiring a lawyer soon is in your best interest so that you can get help with your case.

When filing bankruptcy, it is very important to understand the potential consequences of committing bankruptcy fraud. If you are accused of committing bankruptcy fraud, then you should not hesitate to hire a lawyer to help. The potential consequences that you are facing are serious, but a lawyer might be able to help you. Hiring an experienced lawyer, being prompt about meeting with and hiring a lawyer and being honest with him or her about the details of your case will all help you increase the chances of things going in your favor with your case.

Due to the significant financial burden that people have, it is always possible that someone could fall behind on finances and get into a situation that is impossible to get out of. To help people once again achieve financial freedom, there are a variety of bankruptcy laws that could help eliminate debts and get someone back on their feet. While the vast majority of people are honest when they file for bankruptcy, there are some examples in which someone will lie on their application. If someone does this, they could be at risk of facing bankruptcy fraud charges.

Definition of Bankruptcy Fraud?
Overall, bankruptcy fraud occurs if you file for bankruptcy and are not honest on your application or try to conceal assets. You could also be charged with bankruptcy fraud if you knowingly made purchases using a loan or credit card with the full intent of declaring bankruptcy in the near future. Since honestly is extremely important in the bankruptcy court process, anything that is done to conceal important information could be determined bankruptcy fraud.

Examples of Bankruptcy Fraud
The crime of bankruptcy fraud is very broad and purposely could incorporate a wide variety of situations or acts. The most common type of bankruptcy fraud occurs when someone applies for bankruptcy and does not conceal all of their assets or overstates their expenses of liabilities. For example, if you have a bank account or asset, it needs to be listed on your application. If you do not list it on the application or try to pass the asset on to another purpose, you are knowingly committing bankruptcy fraud.

Another common example of bankruptcy fraud is if you try and make certain purchases right before you declare bankruptcy. If you happen to purchase a non-routine item, whether it is with your cash, credit card, or other form of debt, it could be considered bankruptcy fraud.

Other Similar Charges
If you are charged with bankruptcy fraud, there are a number of different charges that could come with as well. When committing bankruptcy fraud, many people end up using bank accounts, wire transfers, or mail to transfer funds. Because of this, you could additionally be charged with bank, wire, or mail fraud, each of which can come with serious felony offense charges.

One extreme example of bankruptcy fraud is if you try to bribe another party during the process. If you try to bribe a bankruptcy trustee in order to get a more favorable decision, you could also be charged with full bribery charges as well.

Potential Penalties
Being charged with bankruptcy fraud is a very serious offense and the penalties can be significant. Depending on the scope of the crime, you could be charged with up to $250,000 in penalties and could face five or more years in jail. If you are also charged with fraud or bribery, you could face more serious penalties as well.

Common Defenses
While being charged with bankruptcy fraud is a big deal, there are always ways that you can go about fighting the charges. If you are charged with bankruptcy fraud, the onus will be on the prosecutor to prove your guilt. This will also include proving that you knowingly hid information from the trustee. One of the most common defenses is to state that you did not intend to conceal assets. Since the process of filing for bankruptcy is complicated, it can be hard for a prosecutor to know that you did something malicious as opposed to out of ignorance or by making a mistake during the filing process.

Being charged with bankruptcy fraud is a very serious charge that can come with imprisonment and other significant penalties. Because of this, it is important that you receive the legal support and defense that you need. You will need to find a lawyer that has experience with bankruptcy fraud charges. An attorney that is experienced with bankruptcy fraud charges will be able to help you by providing you with a full consultation on your case and determining the best way to proceed. This can include negotiating with prosecutors to have charges dropped, enter into a plea agreement, or even prepare and present a defense in court.

How Does Bankruptcy Work? The United States set up their bankruptcy system in order to aid individuals that need to stabilize themselves financially. This process allows people who are not economically sound to become stable and working members of society again. The bankruptcy system also helps creditors to regain the money they are owed. Both the individuals filing for bankruptcy and the creditors they owe money to must report all assets and debts that need to be repaid.

Types of Bankruptcy Fraud

  • Concealment of assets – the most commonly committed form of bankruptcy fraud (makes up 70% of bankruptcy cases). Conceament of assets involves leaving items off of a list of assets.
  • Making false statements in court – this occurs when an individual leaves questions without answers within their bankruptcy petition.
  • Filing for bankruptcy in multiple states – this slows down the process of bankruptcy as well as the liquidation of assets, which allows more time to conceal assets.
  • Creating a business and buying items with credit – individuals sometimes start businesses and buy needed items with credit without the intention of paying and instead filing for bankruptcy.
  • False statements made by creditors – creditors can commit fraud by not reporting the payments they received from a debtor.
  • Embezzlement – Court personnel, attorneys, or trustees may take some of the money from a debtor’s sale of assets through embezzlement.

It should be noted that in order to be charged with asset concealment, the act must be done intentionally. If an individual did not disclose that they had several expensive jewelry items because they forgot about them, they can not be charged with bankruptcy fraud.

Who Investigates Bankruptcy Fraud?

Several government entities investigate bankruptcy fraud. One entity that investigates bankruptcy fraud is the the Department of Justice’s United States Trustees Program. This program is an overseer of the United States bankruptcy system and is the top entity that identifies bankruptcy fraud. The Department of Justice’s United States Trustees Program looks for individuals who file bankruptcy in more than one state, bankruptcy cases that may include members of organized crime, and cases that involve very large amounts of money. When the Department of Justice’s United States Trustees Program identifies fraud, they contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as a district attorney. The Federal Bureau of Investigation will then begin looking into financial documentation and conducting interviews. The Federal Bureau of Investigation may also collect evidence through surveillance methods and undercover operations. The Internal Revenue Service also looks into bankruptcy fraud.

Penalties of Bankruptcy Fraud

During a bankruptcy proceeding, debt discharge rights may be given to an individual. Debt discharge means that creditors can no longer contact you or sue you for money you owed. If an individual is convicted of bankruptcy fraud, their debt discharge rights may be taken from them and their creditors may still sue them. Individuals who commit bankruptcy fraud may also receive criminal charges. In order to be charged criminally, the court must prove that an individual knowingly committed fraud through misrepresentation. The consequences of being charged with criminal bankruptcy fraud include either a fine of $250,000, federal prison sentencing for up to five years, or both. Each offense of bankruptcy fraud is charged with five years of sentencing in a federal prison.



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