It won’t pay to hide assets in bankruptcy courts

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in chapter 7 on Saturday, July 30, 2016.

When it comes to filing for bankruptcy, it may not literally pay to be forthcoming about the extent of your assets. However, it could literally cost you in terms of finances and freedom to not disclose assets you are aware of. If it is discovered that you have done so, you could be denied a discharge of debts and found ineligible for bankruptcy.

In a worst case scenario, you could face criminal consequences for intentionally failing to disclose certain assets. Some activities that could be considered crimes by the debtor are:

  • Including inaccurate information in testimony at court proceedings or creditor meetings.
  • Altering, hiding or destroying records.
  • Self-dealing by a debtor-in-possession.
  • A debtor-in-possession’s refusal to make documents and accounts accessible.
  • Filing petition for bankruptcy or a document in a case for bankruptcy with the intention of fraud.
  • Claiming, representing or promising something known to be false or fraudulent in a bankruptcy case.
  • Concealing property that is part of the bankruptcy estate.
  • Receiving or offering bribes during bankruptcy dealings.

This is not an exhaustive list. What few people realize is that if it can be shown that the debtor understood that what he or she was doing was wrong, the debtor can be held accountable. The debtor can receive five years for every offense and can be fined $5,000 per offense as well. The financial penalties and possible incarceration time can stack up.

Bankruptcy is the means to a new start and is intended to provide you with a new new financial start and a second chance to get things right. You don’t want to enter into it with the burden of fear regarding undisclosed assets and possible criminal activity being revealed. Your Florida bankruptcy attorney may be able to help you with answers to the tough questions and give you a fresh start.