Declaring bankruptcy is emotionally taxing and highly stressful. The impulse to conserve as many economic resources when facing insolvency leads many responsible citizens to make poor choices with devastating legal and financial consequences.

Financial Penalties

If you are found to be hiding assets, your discharge is likely to be denied. Your hidden assets are also unlikely to be eligible for discharge in any future petitions, and you may be liable for additional fines of up to half a million dollars.

Legal Penalties

A false statement regarding assets is considered perjury, a serious federal offence. In addition to often severe fines, you may also face felony prison sentences of up to five years. Depending on the severity of the charge, you may face a combination of fines in addition to lengthy prison time and felony charges that may remain on your record for the rest of your life.

Common methods of hiding assets include transferring resources temporarily into another name as well as the manufacture of false mortgages or liens. Bankruptcy trustees are on guard for signs of these and other approaches. For example, an itemized review of credit card spending will be analyzed for non-dischargeable debts such as cash advances adding up to a total of $1,075 withdrawn within 60 days of your filing date. Trustees maintain the ability to analytically review your debts, review public record and online asset searches and will also likely have access to tax returns, payroll stubs and a variety of bank records, and may even be able to request searches of your personal property to verify claims.

Working With a Professional

While diligently reviewing paperwork deadlines and regulations, all things considered, mistakes do happen. Common forgotten assets include beneficial interests in trusts, co-owned assets and retirement benefits. If you file paperwork to disclose an asset as soon as you realize that a mistake has been made, you are unlikely to be penalized in court.

When undertaken without the help of an experienced attorney, the process of liquidation can be long, arduous and filled with confusing and seemingly endless paperwork. Avoid the temptation to save on legal fees by going alone. The costs of a prolonged case and potential paperwork mistakes will most likely quickly eclipse any projected savings. A bankruptcy professional can also help you understand
which assets must be claimed to avoid any fraudulency charges.

One of the best ways to ensure that these costly mistakes are not made is to work directly with a high-quality attorney who will help you meet all legal requirements be discharge your debts, allowing you to start with a truly clean blank slate. Call Brent George today for a free consultation on your case.