Federal Bankruptcy Fraud Criminal Charges
Bankruptcy fraud charges generally come with allegations that a person filing for bankruptcy made false statements or concealed material facts. Millions of people file for bankruptcy in federal bankruptcy court, which can prevent creditors from suing to collect debts. Instead, the creditors need to go to bankruptcy court, where the judge will decide who will be repaid, and how much each creditor gets back. The process is designed to allow people to get out from crushing debt, to have a fresh start. When a bankruptcy petitioner conceals assets, destroys records, makes false claims, or tris to bribe a creditor, things can go awry. Federal prosecutors routinely seek indictments for bankruptcy fraud and other related federal charges.
If you are facing criminal charges related to bankruptcy fraud, we can help. Call us at 781-797-0555 for a free telephone consultation.
Our Boston-based federal defense attorneys have the experience and resources to help clients facing bankruptcy fraud charges in Massachusetts and throughout the United States. Bankruptcy fraud charges can include allegations of the following:
-Providing an incomplete list of assets;
-Destroying financial documents;
-Failing to disclose a debt;
-Hiding assets; and
-Making false statements.
Concealing assets is among the most common accusations brought in federal court. People are also fairly often indicted for allegations that they ran up charges on credit cards while intending to file for bankruptcy in the near future.
Penalties for bankruptcy fraud charges
If you are convicted of bankruptcy fraud, you face potential prison time, large fines, and the inability to discharge debts in bankruptcy court. However, a conviction is not inevitable, and a federal defense attorney can evaluate the evidence and help you devise a plan to fight the allegations and/or to mitigate the situation. In order to get a conviction, the federal prosecutor has to prove that you had the intent to conceal assets or to defraud the government. Intent can be difficult to prove.
What is bankruptcy fraud?
Perhaps the best way to define bankruptcy fraud is by pointing to the law itself. According to 18 U.S.C. § 152,
“ 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;
(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;
(4) knowingly and fraudulently presents any false claim for proof against the estate of a debtor, or uses any such claim in any case under title 11, in a personal capacity or as or through an agent, proxy, or attorney;
(5) knowingly and fraudulently receives any material amount of property from a debtor after the filing of a case under title 11, with intent to defeat the provisions of title 11;
(6) knowingly and fraudulently gives, offers, receives, or attempts to obtain any money or property, remuneration, compensation, reward, advantage, or promise thereof for acting or forbearing to act in any case under title 11;
(7) in a personal capacity or as an agent or officer of any person or corporation, in contemplation of a case under title 11 by or against the person or any other person or corporation, or with intent to defeat the provisions of title 11, knowingly and fraudulently transfers or conceals any of his property or the property of such other person or corporation;
(8) after the filing of a case under title 11 or in contemplation thereof, knowingly and fraudulently conceals, destroys, mutilates, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any recorded information (including books, documents, records, and papers) relating to the property or financial affairs of a debtor; or
(9) after the filing of a case under title 11, knowingly and fraudulently withholds from a custodian, trustee, marshal, or other officer of the court or a United States Trustee entitled to its possession, any recorded information (including books, documents, records, and papers) relating to the property or financial affairs of a debtor,
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
Bankruptcy fraud defense attorneys
The laws are complex and can be unforgiving. You need the guidance of expert attorneys. At Simons Law Office, our defense attorneys offer superior representation. Call us today for a free confidential telephone consultation to get started.