Washington DC Bankruptcy Fraud Lawyer

Bankruptcy fraud is a serious federal offense that can result in severe penalties, including thousands of dollars in fines and years in federal prison. If you are accused of bankruptcy fraud, you should strongly consider speaking with a Washington DC bankruptcy fraud lawyer right away.

Various types of actions can constitute bankruptcy fraud, so it can be essential that you are aware of what actions violate the law. All too often, what you believe to be a perfectly innocent action can end up being illegal. If you believe that you have become the target of a bankruptcy fraud investigation, you may wish to contact a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

Bankruptcy in Washington DC

Bankruptcy proceedings in DC are often as a last resort for recovery from overwhelming personal or business debts and go more smoothly when an attorney is present. The process generally involves the liquidation of most assets in exchange for the discharge of most debts, with the proceeds going to creditors. Whether the result of bad business decisions, ineffective management of finances, or a simple downturn in the economy, bankruptcy may be the most viable option available to people in some instances.

There are different kinds of bankruptcy filings allowed under federal law. Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings require the liquidation of all non-exempt personal assets in order to discharge debts owed by individuals. Chapter 11 deals with the reorganization of business debts, and Chapter 13 deals with the reorganization of individual debts.

Any of these types of bankruptcy filings is subject to fraud investigations by federal authorities. A local bankruptcy fraud attorney may be able to build a strong defense on behalf of those who are suspected of federal bankruptcy fraud.

Common Types of Bankruptcy Fraud

U.S. bankruptcy law defines fraud very broadly. The point of criminalizing bankruptcy fraud is to ensure that all participants, including debtors and creditors, are treated fairly during bankruptcy proceedings. Some common types of bankruptcy fraud include:

  • Making false statements on bankruptcy petitions and other paperwork
  • Concealing or failing to report income or assets to exclude them from bankruptcy proceedings
  • Filing multiple bankruptcies under different names and/or in different states
  • Committing trustee fraud, in which trustees attempt to deceive the court

Attempting to hide income or assets from the court is probably the most common kind of bankruptcy fraud that occurs. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all non-exempt assets are liquidated and distributed to creditors in order of priority. Debtors may try and conceal some of these assets so that they are not taken or sold to pay their debts, an act which constitutes bankruptcy fraud.

Penalties for Bankruptcy Fraud under Federal Law

18 U.S. Code §152 sets forth the penalties for concealing assets, committing bribery, or making false statements in connection with bankruptcy proceedings. The penalties for committing bankruptcy fraud can be harsh and may include up to five years in federal prison for each offense, as well as up to $250,000 in fines.

Likewise, 18 U.S.C. §157 details bankruptcy fraud in the context of a business fraudulently filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The penalties for committing this type of bankruptcy fraud are similar to those for violations of 18 U.S.C. §152.

All bankruptcy fraud offenses are felonies, which are likely to result in collateral consequences in the event of a conviction. For instance, a felony conviction removes many individual civil rights, such as the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to possess any type of firearm.

As the penalties of a bankruptcy fraud conviction can be very severe, individuals who are accused of this offense may want to discuss the matter with a bankruptcy fraud lawyer in Washington DC prior to making any decisions about their cases.

Talk to a DC Bankruptcy Fraud Attorney Today

The ability to discharge substantial and person debts can lead to misuse of the bankruptcy system. As a result of the large amounts of money involved in bankruptcy filings, federal officials examine bankruptcy proceedings and filings closely in order to find any evidence of fraud. If you have become the subject of bankruptcy fraud investigations, you may wish to consult a Washington DC bankruptcy fraud lawyer.

In the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, it is easy to forget about assets or income that you must divulge to the bankruptcy court. Avoid running afoul of bankruptcy laws by getting the legal advice that you need at all stages of bankruptcy or criminal proceedings.