Whether you’re facing bankruptcy fraud charges or simply want to avoid committing this crime, it’s essential to know the law. A conviction for bankruptcy fraud may include high fines, time in jail, and other serious consequences. If you’re dealing with a potential conviction, it’s imperative that you speak with a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. We’ll cover some important information on bankruptcy fraud, penalties, defenses, and what to do if you’re dealing with charges.
Filing for Bankruptcy Legally
Most people know that filing for bankruptcy can give you a new start after running into financial trouble, but following the rules carefully is essential. Any falsified information or dishonesty during this process could cause you legal trouble in the future. Many people intentionally commit bankruptcy fraud, while others do so on accident because they aren’t aware of the laws.
If you’re simply looking to prevent bankruptcy fraud, make sure you aren’t using it to erase shady or illegal business deals. File all of the necessary paperwork with complete honesty, and accept that you may have to give up some property. Finally, you may want to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Many well-intentioned people try to save money by filing the paperwork on their own. But it’s easy to miss simple mistakes that can end up costing you bigtime down the line. Talking to a legal professional who knows the ropes is the best way to prevent legal complications later on.
Bankruptcy law serves to free businesses and individuals from the financial burden of debt. Fraud occurs when someone abuses these laws for financial gain before or during a case. Bankruptcy fraud can include taking advantage of the court by lying, defrauding creditors, destroying assets, and other illegal actions. To receive a charge for this crime, the prosecution must believe that you committed the actions in question knowingly and intentionally.
Bankruptcy fraud doesn’t typically occur by mistake. Simply stating your expenses incorrectly likely wouldn’t qualify as fraudulent, for example. Failing to list a second home on your paperwork, on the other hand, would raise some alarms. The court may then assume that you intentionally hid the asset and submitted false information.
What Counts as Bankruptcy Fraud?
As mentioned, it’s important to know the law on bankruptcy fraud, including what specific actions can lead to this charge. Here are some examples:
- False statements or unanswered questions: You may face bankruptcy fraud charges if you knowingly supply false information to the court. Even failing to answer questions on your petition could qualify as giving a false statement.
- Buying items on credit before filing: If you purchase luxury items with the intention of avoiding payment by filing for bankruptcy, this qualifies as bankruptcy fraud.
- Transferring assets before you file: You may think you can give an expensive item to a family member for safekeeping during bankruptcy proceedings. However, this would count as fraud and could result in felony charges.
- Filing in more than one state simultaneously: It’s illegal to file for bankruptcy in more than one state at a time, so make sure you avoid doing so.
- Using several identities: Some people file bankruptcy under several identities. This is highly illegal and can lead to serious penalties.
Other forms of bankruptcy fraud include purposely writing bad checks, falsifying financial statements, leaving out creditor information, destroying assets, and withholding information. The most common type of bankruptcy fraud is concealment of assets, which may involve leaving a particular item off your asset list. Keep in mind that transferring an asset to a family member would place both you and that individual at risk of bankruptcy fraud charges.
Your bankruptcy attorney will design the best defense strategy possible for you based on the specific crimes allegedly involved with your case. Whether you committed a crime on purpose, did so on accident, or received false allegations, speak with an attorney today to protect your future.
Bankruptcy Fraud Penalties
Bankruptcy fraud is usually handled in the civil courts, meaning you’d likely owe the victim of the crime money instead of receiving criminal penalties. In more serious cases, however, you might face criminal charges with severe consequences. This type of bankruptcy fraud sentence might include 20 years of prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, restitution, and community service. If you committed other related crimes like perjury or embezzlement, you could receive additional penalties.
Bankruptcy Fraud Defenses
With an experienced bankruptcy lawyer on your side, you could change the outcome of your case significantly. They will know the best course of action for minimizing your charges and penalties. It’s the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that you’re guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Potential defenses can include lack of intent, innocence, duress, wrong defendant, and more. If your attorney can successfully cause the jurors to doubt that you committed a criminal act intentionally, you could avoid a bankruptcy fraud conviction.
Get Help with Bankruptcy Fraud Charges
If you’re facing bankruptcy fraud charges, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced criminal defense team. JacksonWhite’s criminal defense attorneys have worked with thousands of clients, with the goal of offering the most personalized assistance and reducing penalties as much as possible. Contact our team below and get the help you need today!
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to schedule a free case review today.
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