Casey Anthony became a well-known name in the Florida area as well as across the country. Her criminal trial caused immense controversy and intense feelings. Whatever individuals feel, the fact stands that a jury acquitted her of the charges that would have sent her to prison and found her guilty of lying about the disappearance of her child — even though two of those convictions were eventually struck down on appeal.
The combination of presenting a defense against the charges and the convictions that were upheld has left her with a large legal tab. And even though her criminal case was resolved, a number of creditors have begun calling in the costs they incurred in relation to the case. Facing a combined bill of over $780,000 to private and government agencies, she has now filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Orlando, Florida.
The largest bill that Anthony owes is to her defense attorney. The arguments that he made in her defense in court did not come cheap, and she still owes approximately $500,000 in attorney’s fees. The unnecessary waste of resources searching for the child has law enforcement agencies seeking reimbursement, including $145,006.21 to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, $61,505 to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and $10,283.90 to the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation. Last is the Internal Revenue Service, who says she owed $68,540 in back taxes.
Other possible creditors include two individuals who are filing civil defamation lawsuits against Anthony. One is the woman who was falsely accused of kidnapping the child and a meter reader who Anthony’s defense team called a possible killer in order to create reasonable doubt.
While we do not pretend to take a stance on this specific case, legal issues are a common cause of financial trouble. A small business owner in a contract dispute may find his personal assets tied to the outcome. An individual who is injured in a car accident or on another person’s property or even the person who owns that property might have to spend some money in court. Someone falsely accused of committing a crime must still present a defense. Even a child fighting to preserve a parent’s legacy in probate court can incur large legal costs.
When these bills become too much to handle, Chapter 7 is a way in which the individual can have some of these debts discharged. Some legal judgments, legal fees and even income taxes may be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Source:U.S. News, “Casey Anthony files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida,” Gil Aegerter, Jan. 27, 2013
If you have questions about how Chapter 7 bankruptcy works, our website provides information about the process in Florida and access to a team who can help.