29 Jul Perjury In A Bankruptcy Case Can Land You In Jail!
Perjury is a federal crime when it happens in conjunction with a bankruptcy case. When my clients sign their Petition I inform them no less than 4 times that they are signing the documents under penalty of pejury that everything must be truthful and accurate to best of their knowledge.
This means tell me everything. Tell me about the timeshare, motorcycle, beanie baby collections, computer you purchased within six months of fling bankruptcy on that credit card and everything else. What I tell my clients is if you commit perjury your local FBI agent can investigate and be your personal escort to Leavenworth, one of the federal prisons. I hear all kinds of stories where clients inform me that “my friends filed and they did not declare….., so why do I have to tell you everything?” My response is, “is your friend going to do the time when you are charged with a federal crime?” That usually stops the whining of why I ask so many questions.
Bottom line is I cannot protect my client if they do not tell me everything. Most situations can be dealt with but that is only if you give us all the facts.
Keep in mind if you play hide and seek with assets or income and your attorney asked the proper questions you will be the one facing jail time. Who will know? Bankruptcy filings are published under public notices and all kinds of people may find out that you have filed bankruptcy. It is not unusual for the ex to show up to a hearing or even call the trustee to say that the debtor is hiding assets or income. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord but on the other end of the spectrum Hell hath no fury like an ex scorned. Why take a chance?
Punishment for bankruptcy crimes include but are not limited to fines in the neighborhood of $250,000 and/or a jail sentence up to 5 years and/or losing your discharge. So is it worth all that to not declare the $100 bass boat that you are worried about losing? Not in my mind.
I have been in Leavenworth once to interview a client who robbed a bank to pay her credit card debt. The sound of the door slamming shut behind me when I entered the prison was the most deafening and isolating sound I have ever experienced in my life.
Remember that knowledge is power and the more knowledge you provide your attorney the more power they will have to get a bankruptcy discharge for you and to keep you out of jail.
Written by Kansas City, Missouri Bankruptcy Attorney, Rachel Lynn Foley.