In filing for bankruptcy, you will be told to list all your property and assets. This property may go towards paying off your creditors. There are two types of property. You have exempt property and nonexempt property. Your exempt property may be a primary source of transportation and your home. After all, you do not lose all of your property when you file for bankruptcy. However, it may still be tempting to hide some of your property.
If you try to hide property, this could lead to serious consequences.
Is Hiding Property a Crime?
You may think little about hiding property. Most people who aren’t versed in bankruptcy law don’t understand how seriously the federal government may take hidden assets. When you file bankruptcy, you have to list all of your property. This doesn’t mean that you will lose all of the property that you list. If you do not list something, your whole case could get thrown out. This is usually the main fear, but it is not the only fear. To hide your assets is bankruptcy fraud and can be considered a federal crime. Keep in mind that any bankruptcy fraud must be intentional. You have to knowingly hide your property. This does not count towards mistakes. However, mistakes can still lead to a dismissal of your bankruptcy.
What Are the Penalties of Bankruptcy Fraud?
If you hide your property and wind up with bankruptcy fraud charges, there are serious consequences for it. Not only will your case be thrown out, but you may be unable to file for bankruptcy in the future. In addition, you could face up to five years in prison or fines of up to $250,000. Of course, your penalties will also depend on how serious of a crime you committed. The type of assets and the value of your assets will play a role in how you are charged or sentenced.
A lot of people believe that hiding property in a bankruptcy case isn’t a big deal. If found out, you may lose your case, but often people don’t think that it could go further than that. A lot of people aren’t aware that omitting property from the list is technically bankruptcy fraud and is a federal crime with heavy penalties. You should always play it safe and list all of your property to avoid any controversy. For more information about what you have to list, contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Clearwater, FL today.
Thanks to The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. for their insight into bankruptcy law and the consequences of hidden property.