The bankruptcy laws are in place to help honest folks get a fresh start after circumstances present them with financial challenges. As long as you follow the rules, you won’t have any problems. There are, however, a number of ways that you can run afoul of the bankruptcy rules. If your actions are determined to be intentional, you may even face criminal charges.
Here are some of the most common ways people commit bankruptcy fraud:
- Hiding assets or income or failing to include all property on the application for bankruptcy protection
- Destroying, withholding or falsifying any documents related to income or assets, or that would have an effect on the disposition of the bankruptcy
- Setting up a straw, or sham, transfer of property, such that you still retain control and use of the property, even though it appears you no longer own it—for example, you may “give” a boat or vehicle to a friend or family member, but still use it on a regular basis. Often, this involves property “given” before the bankruptcy, so that you don’t have to report it on your application.
- Creating any type of false document related to your income, debt or assets
- Paying a third party to hide, destroy or disguise assets
- Making any type of false representation to the bankruptcy court or as part of the bankruptcy process
There are serious penalties for engaging in bankruptcy fraud. If convicted of certain crimes, you can face up to 20 years in prison and as much as $250,000 in fines.
Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP
At Neuner & Ventura, LLP, we know that the bankruptcy process can be intimidating and confusing. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, call our office at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.
Representing Clients across South Jersey