If you search hard enough, you will not have much difficulty finding someone in the news who is facing charges of bankruptcy fraud. One notable story involves a couple from New Jersey, notorious for appearing on a reality TV show, who allegedly hid millions of dollars in unknown accounts before filing for bankruptcy several years ago. They pled guilty and were sent to prison as a result. While their story is media fodder for many reasons, bankruptcy fraud is a real problem and a crime that can affect anyone who files a petition in bankruptcy court.
Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA)
The BAPCPA was passed in 2005, and its requirements pose a challenge for all debtors, but especially for those who attempt to file a less than honest bankruptcy petition. Among its requirements is the emphasis it places on a debtor to fully and completely disclose all of his or her assets when filing. If a debtor fails to list an asset on their bankruptcy schedule, they take the chance of facing serious repercussions in bankruptcy court.
If the court discovers the debtor’s failure to list an asset and finds the debtor acted in bad faith in doing so, the debtor could risk having his or her bankruptcy case dismissed. In that case, the debtor may try to file a different type of bankruptcy but will most likely lose the asset he or she was trying to conceal anyway, as the property would likely be liquidated, and the proceeds used to pay off creditors.
It goes without saying that bankruptcy courts do not take such dishonesty lightly. While the bankruptcy laws are meant to offer protection to honest people in financial crisis, the court is quick to punish those who try to take advantage of the process and act in bad faith.
The Importance of Having Legal Counsel During the Bankruptcy Process
It is essential for those individuals who are considering filing for bankruptcy to have a firm grasp of the relevant bankruptcy laws before filing their petition in bankruptcy court. If not, they run the risk of the law working against them instead of for them to obtain debt relief. BAPCPA is just one of the relevant laws that could affect an individual’s bankruptcy filing. Its requirements make clear that those who act in bad faith in hiding assets will suffer serious consequences in their bankruptcy case. However, it is those debtors who do not necessarily act in bad faith when filing a bankruptcy petition, but rather, without the proper knowledge of the law, who may suffer the most.
Hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney can make all the difference in cases like these. An attorney who is knowledgeable with bankruptcy laws and procedure will ensure that your petition is thoroughly and properly completed before it is filed with the court.
Contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Clearwater, FL to handle your bankruptcy case and be confident that your bankruptcy case will be handled with care. Schedule a consultation today.
Thanks to The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. for their insight into bankruptcy law and fraud.