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Should I Be Concerned about Bankruptcy Fraud?

The average person filing for bankruptcy has little concern over fraud, unless he or she intends to commit it. Most people find themselves in financial straits and opt for bankruptcy as a means of rebuilding their financial future. Unfortunately, even without ever intending to defraud in any way, a person filing for bankruptcy can be accused of fraud.

In most cases, if you are open and honest, and you do your best to provide complete and accurate information to the bankruptcy court, you will not need to worry about fraud. However, it is still important to work with a bankruptcy professional to ensure things are handled properly. An unintentional misstep could get your case dismissed and result in possible fraud charges.

First, it is important to understand what constitutes bankruptcy fraud.

According to current bankruptcy laws, fraud is committed if a person filing for bankruptcy does any of the following:

• Fails to disclose all assets or incorrectly value those assets
• Leave questions unanswered on bankruptcy documents
• Accumulates large debt just before filing
• Files incorrect tax returns or tax returns that do not match recent financial records

Fraud can also come into question if a conflict of interest arises based on the trustee to whom you are assigned.

Mistakes Happen – Fix Them Fast

Though it is rare, there are instances in which a person has kept shoddy records or simply makes a mistake and one of the above occurs. This is why it is important to have someone supporting you who can review bankruptcy paperwork and compare it to your other records before anything is submitted to the court.

If you are filing for bankruptcy, you should not expect a mistake to go unpunished just because it was not intentional. Claiming you did not know you made an error or submitted incomplete information is not considered a viable excuse.

And if you think the mistake will go unnoticed, think again. Bankruptcy requires you to be completely transparent and your financial situation will be under close scrutiny. If you inadvertently make a mistake, the best thing to do is to call it to the attention of the court and correct it as soon as possible. For more information about bankruptcy fraud, visit the IRS website.

If you are considering bankruptcy or the time has come to file, it is essential you work with an experienced attorney. This ensures you make no mistakes that could lead to more trouble in the long run. 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.