When most people in Florida think of bankruptcy, they imagine someone who has fallen on hard times and is simply trying to do what's best for their family or business. However, some individuals choose to file for bankruptcy fraudulently to avoid paying their debts. This is a serious crime that can lead to significant consequences. You may want to learn more about what bankruptcy fraud is and the penalties associated with it.
What is bankruptcy fraud?
Bankruptcy fraud is the intentional filing of false documents or information to gain an advantage in a bankruptcy case. Florida treats this crime as a felony, punishable with heavy fines and long jail terms regardless of its form.
Types of bankruptcy fraud in Florida
- Filing a false bankruptcy petition – This involves filing a petition containing false information, such as incorrect or inflated income, assets or debts.
- Concealing assets – This form of bankruptcy fraud involves hiding or transferring assets to others to avoid creditors, such as putting your money into a bank account in your friend's name.
- Making false statements – Making false statements on official documents, such as the bankruptcy petition, asset declaration or statement of financial affairs, is another common type of bankruptcy intentional filing.
- Petition mills – Petition mills are businesses or individuals that create and file bankruptcy petitions on behalf of clients. Their clients keep on taking debt and filing for bankruptcy so that the court can wipe them out.
Penalties for bankruptcy fraud
Bankruptcy fraud is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine in Florida. Additionally, the court may order you to pay restitution to your creditors if you are convicted.
If you have been accused of bankruptcy fraud, it's important to mount a defense. The consequences of bankruptcy fraud can be dire, and you need all the help you can get.