What if you lie in your bankruptcy petition? The bankruptcy process is designed to give honest debtors relief from their bills. Honesty is the bedrock of the process. Clients are often concerned that someone will come into their home to inventory their things. The bankruptcy trustee and the court certainly have the power to make this happen. In my practice I have never seen it done to anyone I represent.
When you sign the bankruptcy petition you are attesting under oath that what the petition contains is true and accurate. Before you testify at your meeting of creditors you are formerly sworn to tell the truth.
Why would anyone lie in their Bankruptcy? The biggest reason is to hide assets or transactions. It is always a possibility in a chapter 7 bankruptcy that the trustee will take non-exempt assets, sell them and disburse the money to creditors. You don’t want that to happen. I don’t want that to happen. Believe it or not most trustees don’t want that to happen. For them the process is a boat load of work.
How better to prevent that from happening than by keeping the property secret from your Cleveland Bankruptcy attorney, not listing it in the petition, and not telling the trustee about it at the meeting of creditors.
Bankruptcy can seem like an easy way to get rid of your bills. However it has a deadly serious side. Try a lie in your bankruptcy. What can happen?
- Nothing if no one ever finds out. This is a real sucker bet. They do find out.
- The trustee can take action to have your discharge removed. That means you can never discharge these debts again, even in another bankruptcy.
- Even if the discharge is removed the trustee can still go after the hidden assets for the benefit of your creditors.
- Your case can be referred to the US Attorney for prosecution for a bankruptcy crime. Bring lots of fine money and your toothbrush. You may be going away for a while.
There is a reason I want so much documentation. It is all about verification of what you put into your petition. Accuracy and truth win out when you file either chapter 7 or chapter 13 in Cleveland. Is unloading your debts worth jail?
Stay tuned. The next post will talk about two clients who decided to lie in their bankruptcy. They both got caught. Find out what happened to them.
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