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How Do I Avoid Accusations of Bankruptcy Fraud?

Accusations of bankruptcy fraud can be one of the scariest experiences of a person’s life. You finally gather the courage to file for bankruptcy and get your financial life back on track, only to face accusations that you are a dishonest criminal. The thought might be enough to prevent you from filing.

The good news is accusations of bankruptcy fraud are rare. Chances are if you are open and honest, and you work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, nobody will doubt the details of your case. Fraud charges are possible, even if your mistakes were unintentional, but with the guidance of an attorney, chances you will make a mistake are low.

What Is Considered Bankruptcy Fraud?

• Not disclosing all of your assets or applying incorrect value to those assets
• Acquiring massive debt immediately before filing
• Failing to answer certain questions or provide certain information to the court
• Filing tax returns that do not match recent financial statements

There are people out there with nefarious intentions who take advantage of the system and intentionally commit fraud. Unfortunately, there are also those who misunderstand the rules or misinterpret their responsibility in filing for bankruptcy. If your mistakes can be proven unintentional, the charges of fraud might be dropped, but proving what you did was a mistake is extremely difficult. This is why it is important to understand what constitutes fraud and do everything you can to ensure nothing you do appears to be fraudulent, no matter how unintentional.

Ignorance is Not Bliss

Making incomplete statements is just as bad as making dishonest ones. Filing for bankruptcy requires complete transparency, so if you think you can hide assets or money, think again. You must fill in all information requested in your bankruptcy filing in its entirety. You must also make every effort to value the assets listed on your application accurately.

Furthermore, it is important to disclose any relation you might have to a trustee in advance. If you know someone who works in a bankruptcy court in your area or the trustee assigned to your case is someone you know, inform your attorney. Any effort viewed as an attempt to trick or mislead the bankruptcy court can get you into a great deal of trouble, even if you have no intention of committing fraud.

If you are considering bankruptcy or you have decided it is the right choice for you, it is essential you work with an experienced attorney. This not only helps you file with ease, it ensures you make no mistakes that could lead to more trouble in the future. We can help. Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 to schedule your consultation.

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At the Tampa Bay law firm, the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A., we help people with consumer bankruptcy matters in the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg,  Florida communities such as Clearwater,     St. Petersburg, Tampa, Thonotosassa, Riverview, Lutz, Plant City, Brandon, Carrollwood, Wesley Chapel, St. Petersburg Beach, Lakeland, Mulberry, Dade City, Pinellas Park, Largo, Seminole, Odessa, Oldsmar and Lithia, and counties such as Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County and Manatee County.