Concealing Assets, False Statements, And Bribery In Bankruptcy

Protect Your Future With A Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re facing charges for concealing assets, making false statements, or bribery in a federal bankruptcy case, time is of the essence. Legal penalties for these offenses can be severe, including imprisonment and substantial fines. Act now to build a solid defense strategy with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer. At Cofer Luster Criminal Defense Lawyers, we focus on federal criminal defense cases, ensuring that your rights are protected every step of the way. Don’t leave your future to chance; call us today at (682) 777-3336 or get in touch with us online for a consultation.

Bankruptcy Fraud

The legal landscape surrounding federal criminal charges can be complex and often difficult to navigate. One area where individuals may run afoul of federal laws is in the realm of bankruptcy proceedings. The laws governing bankruptcy fraud are intricate, and violations can result in serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment. One such law that addresses these issues is 18 U.S.C. § 152.

What Is 18 U.S.C. § 152?

18 U.S.C. § 152 deals with various criminal activities related to bankruptcy, including the concealment of assets, making false statements, and bribery. These acts are taken seriously by federal law enforcement agencies and courts because they undermine the integrity of the bankruptcy process and could cause significant harm to creditors and other parties involved.


Concealment Of Assets

First and foremost, 18 U.S.C. § 152 aims to eliminate fraudulent activity related to the concealment of assets. The law is strict when it comes to knowingly hiding any property that belongs to a debtor’s estate. If you are found to have concealed assets from court officials like trustees or marshals, or from creditors, you are in violation of this component. This is crucial because the equitable distribution of a debtor’s assets among creditors relies heavily on accurate asset disclosure.

False Oaths And Accounts

Making fraudulent statements or accounts can severely hinder the bankruptcy process, which relies on a high degree of accuracy and honesty. If you knowingly make false oaths or accounts in any bankruptcy case, you may find yourself facing criminal charges. The law takes a firm stance on this to ensure that creditors receive what they are due and that the court can make informed decisions.

False Declarations And Statements

Similar to false oaths and accounts, making any false declarations or statements under penalty of perjury is also punishable by law. This covers certificates, verifications, or any other documentation that must be truthful for the court to make a fair judgment. This provision also emphasizes the need for integrity in the process, ensuring that all participating parties are held to the highest standards of truthfulness.

False Claims

If you knowingly present any false claims against a debtor’s estate, whether on your own or through an agent or attorney, this can result in charges. This kind of fraudulent activity skews the claims process and compromises the integrity of the bankruptcy case, making it difficult for the court to distribute assets appropriately among creditors.

Receiving Property From A Debtor

Receiving property from a debtor is another area fraught with legal implications. If you knowingly receive any material amount of property from a debtor after a bankruptcy case has been filed, and your intent is to defeat the provisions of the bankruptcy law, you could face criminal charges. This is to ensure that all property belonging to a debtor’s estate remains within the purview of the court and the bankruptcy proceedings.

Bribery And Remuneration

Any attempt to give, offer, receive, or obtain any sort of financial gain or advantage in a bankruptcy case is prohibited. The law aims to maintain integrity of the proceedings and ensure that no one can unfairly benefit from influencing the process.

Transferring Or Concealing Property

Transferring or concealing any property with the intent to defeat the provisions of bankruptcy laws is another major offense. Whether you are doing this in your personal capacity or acting for another person or corporation, knowingly making these kinds of transfers or concealments is illegal. The law aims to prevent people from evading their financial responsibilities by shifting assets around.

Destruction Or Falsification Of Records

If you knowingly destroy, mutilate, falsify, or make false entries in any documents or records related to a debtor’s property or financial affairs, you are subject to criminal charges. This provision is in place to ensure transparency in bankruptcy proceedings.

Withholding Information

Withholding any records, documents, or information relating to a debtor’s property or financial affairs from court officers is another significant violation of this law. The provision ensures that all pertinent information is available for the court and other parties involved in the proceedings to make well-informed decisions.

Penalties For Violating 18 U.S.C. § 152

Violations of this section can lead to severe consequences. The law states that individuals found guilty can be fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years. These penalties underscore the serious nature of bankruptcy fraud and related crimes.


Defenses Against Charges Under 18 U.S.C. § 152

Lack Of Intent: A Crucial Element In Bankruptcy Fraud

What Does Intent Mean?

In the context of bankruptcy fraud, intent refers to the accused’s purpose or goal behind their actions. To secure a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 152, the prosecution must prove that you knowingly and fraudulently engaged in the activities specified by the statute.

Why Lack Of Intent Is Important

The element of intent is critical because if you can demonstrate that your actions were not intentional or fraudulent, you may have a valid defense. For example, if you accidentally omitted an asset from your financial statements, you could argue that your actions were not “knowingly and fraudulently” committed. In essence, the lack of intent serves to undermine the prosecution’s case, potentially leading to an acquittal or dismissal of charges.

Mistake Or Ignorance Of Fact: A Common Defense

The defense of mistake or ignorance of fact centers around the idea that you didn’t know a particular fact, which negates the notion that you acted with fraudulent intent. For example, if you unknowingly received property belonging to the debtor’s estate, you could use ignorance of this fact as a defense. However, for this defense to work, you must convincingly demonstrate that any reasonable person in your position would also have been unaware of the fact in question.

Coercion Or Duress: When You Had No Choice

In some cases, individuals commit acts that they wouldn’t normally engage in due to external pressures or threats. If you can demonstrate that you engaged in activities falling under 18 U.S.C. § 152 due to coercion or duress, this could serve as a viable defense. For instance, if someone threatened harm to you or your family unless you concealed assets, the court might consider coercion or duress as a mitigating factor, potentially leading to dropped or reduced charges.

Insufficient Evidence: The Burden Is On The Prosecution

Remember, in a criminal case, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. Prosecutors are required to present evidence that proves, to an extent that reaches past a reasonable doubt, that you violated 18 U.S.C. § 152. Therefore, if the evidence against you is weak or circumstantial, one of your strongest defenses could be simply arguing that the prosecution has failed to meet this burden.

Secure Legal Representation From A Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Bankruptcy fraud and related offenses carry grave consequences. If you are charged with an offense, you need a lawyer well-versed in federal laws and regulations. At Cofer Luster Criminal Defense Lawyers, we have the experience and skills to navigate the complexities of your case and devise a defense strategy tailored to your specific circumstances. Your future is at stake; don’t wait any longer. Reach out to us at (682) 777-3336 or contact us online to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward securing your freedom.