Make no mistake, lying about or concealing your assets is a crime.
Many people worry that they will not be allowed to declare bankruptcy or get the fresh start that they so desperately need if they do not embellish a little bit or leave something out.
Consequently, they take drastic measures, think they will never get caught, and end up in a big mess.
Crime Doesn’t Pay
Generally speaking, it is a federal offense to knowingly and fraudulently conceal any property belonging to the estate of a debtor.
Under 18 U.S.C. 152, you are specifically prohibited from:
- Knowingly and fraudulently concealing property of the estate
- Making a false oath or account
- Making a false declaration, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury
- Presenting or using a false proof of claim against a debtor estate
- Receiving, post-petition, a material amount of property from a debtor with intent to defeat the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code
- Offering, receiving, or attempting to obtain consideration for acting or refraining from acting in a case under the Bankruptcy Code
- Transferring or concealing property in contemplation of a bankruptcy case or with intent to defeat the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code
- Engaging in post-petition concealment or alteration of records
- Engaging in post-petition withholding of a debtor’s records
Doing any one of these could land you in federal prison for up to 5 years and force you to incur a steep fine.
Moreover, you could face serious, long-term consequences when it comes to your job.
Since most companies screen potential and current employees through rather rigorous background checks, any bankruptcy-related crime that you were charged with or convicted of will show up on your criminal record.
This will be a huge red flag for any employer looking to hire you. It also serves as an easy excuse to let you go if you are already employed.
Remember, lying about or concealing your assets is simply not worth the risk. Make sure to listen to your bankruptcy lawyer and follow all of the proper guidelines.
Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm is a criminal defense attorney licensed to practice law in both New Jersey and New York.