Although some people intentionally attempt to commit bankruptcy fraud, many more do so without even knowing it, as even minor accounting errors can lead to bankruptcy fraud charges. Being accused of this crime can have devastating consequences in both financial and personal terms. If you are being investigated for fraudulent bankruptcy activities, it is essential that you speak to an experienced business crime attorney to help you formulate a strong defense.
What is Bankruptcy Fraud?
Bankruptcy fraud is an economic crime that generally involves the concealment of assets. However, there are several ways a person can commit bankruptcy fraud, although most cases fall into the following categories:
- Hide assets in order to avoid confiscation
- Submit a false or incomplete form related to bankruptcy;
- Declare bankruptcy multiple times using false information in multiple jurisdictions;
- Bribing a court-appointed administrator related to bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy fraud charges are especially serious because they are almost always accompanied by additional charges, such as identity theft, money laundering, public corruption, and mortgage fraud.
Common Forms of Fraud
Bankruptcy fraud can take different forms. In most cases, it involves hiding assets to avoid the liquidation of applicants. Non-disclosure of assets qualifies as cover-up, as does the transfer of undeclared assets to associates, friends, family or business associates with the intention of concealing them. Another common form of this offense involves multiple filings, which occurs when a debtor files for bankruptcy in more than one jurisdiction and:
- Use the same name and information;
- Use names and false information;
- Use a combination of authentic and false information.
Regardless of the form it takes, bankruptcy fraud allegations can have devastating consequences for defendants who could be punished under federal law, requiring evidence that a defendant knowingly misrepresented a material fact with the intent to defraud a company or government. In fact, a person can be charged under federal bankruptcy law not only for filing a false petition, but also for filing a fraudulent document or making a false statement, claim, or promise regarding a bankruptcy proceeding. This is true regardless of whether the statement was made before or after the petition was filed. However, before a person can be convicted, Prosecutors must be able to demonstrate that the defendant intentionally misrepresented a material fact with the intention of defrauding a third party. Even attempting to commit bankruptcy fraud is punishable under federal law with up to five years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine.
Schedule an in-person consultation with a Miami economic crime attorney today.
If you are currently under investigation or have been charged with bankruptcy fraud, call Jeffrey S. Weiner, PA, an experienced Miami white collar crime attorney, at (305) 670-9919 for a free initial evaluation of your case.