Is there such a thing as bankruptcy fraud?

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2020 | White Collar Offenses |

Bankruptcy can be an unpleasant experience. For many, it means giving away assets or items they enjoy to pay back creditors. Whether it’s a luxury vehicle, a vacation home or investments, many don’t want what they’ve worked very hard to achieve taken away from them.

Unfortunately, the fear of losing these things can lead to rash decisions that could have long-term consequences, like hiding certain assets from creditors, otherwise known as bankruptcy fraud.

Fraud occurs when people hide non-exempt items

Assets of a certain value can be exempt from bankruptcy, like essential furniture, clothing and even a percentage of home equity. However, other items are non-exempt and can get liquidated to pay off creditors, such as:

  • A second home or vacation home.
  • Investments in stocks, bonds or cash.
  • A second vehicle.
  • Family or luxury antiques.
  • Luxurious collections or other valuable items.

Expensive musical instruments may be non-exempt as well. However, if you are a musician and rely on these items to produce an income, they could be considered essential tools.

A guilty verdict can cost more than what’s already lost

Fraud accusations can escalate from state to federal charges very quickly. That’s why such cases can be complicated and come with severe penalties. Those found guilty of bankruptcy fraud could face thousands of dollars in fines and a substantial prison sentence.

If you’re in a situation like this, sound legal guidance is crucial to have a fair case. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can advocate for your needs and work hard to keep your record clean.