DC Federal Bankruptcy Fraud Attorney
If you have been charged with bankruptcy fraud or are currently under investigation for bankruptcy fraud, it is important that you seek the legal counsel of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. You need the help of a DC federal bankruptcy fraud lawyer who is admitted to practice in federal court in Washington, DC.
When an individual or business is unable to pay back a debt because of disability, loss of income, divorce, business interruptions, or other unforeseen catastrophes filing for bankruptcy may be an avenue of relief for a person or business overwhelmed in financial crisis.
Unfortunately, this can sometimes be an avenue that leads a debtor to go from facing financial crisis to unwanted federal criminal charges. Selecting an experienced white collar attorney in DC to represent you is an important choice to make if you are charged with this serious federal offense.
Working with a DC White Collar Bankruptcy Fraud Lawyer
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Trustees Program, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), are some of the agencies primarily responsible for investigating allegations of federal or white collar bankruptcy fraud. Once the law enforcement agencies believe they have uncovered evidence of wrongdoing, federal bankruptcy fraud cases are prosecuted in Washington, DC by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
A DC Federal bankruptcy fraud lawyer can help someone charged with fraud mount a vigorous defense. Ultimately, it is the government who is burdened with proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged offender intentionally and knowingly used the bankruptcy process and/or bankruptcy courts to perpetrate fraud against their creditors and/or the government.
A DC bankruptcy fraud attorney who understands the nuances and details necessary to successfully argue a case in federal court can help to ensure that you receive a fair trial and that your rights are protected throughout the litigation process.
Title 11 of the U.S. Code is known as the “Bankruptcy Code,” and contains all the relevant federal bankruptcy laws and the procedures for bankruptcy court. Each federal judicial district throughout the United States has its own bankruptcy court, and in Washington DC, bankruptcy cases are heard in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia located in the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse at 333 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001. The federal bankruptcy process has a lot of administrative requirements and hurdles and requires a great deal of filings which are often handled outside the courtroom by court-appointed trustees.
Typically, bankruptcy cases are filed under one of three chapters of the Bankruptcy Code: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases involve liquidation of business assets. Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases involve reorganization of business debts in order for a company to remain in business. Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases involve personal financial reorganization.
The federal bankruptcy filing process is strict and requires the debtor to properly address each every required issue and provide accurate personal and financial information to the court. Failure to complete the bankruptcy filing process both honestly and accurately can lead to serious legal bankruptcy fraud charges being brought against you.
Federal Bankruptcy Fraud Charges
When an individual or corporation files for bankruptcy, all assets are to be reported for use in the repayment of outstanding debts. Sometimes, debtors who file for bankruptcy omit some portion of their assets. If the government believes the debtor intentionally omitted the information in order to willfully avoid the bankruptcy court from identifying and liquidating these assets for the purpose of repayment, the government may bring federal criminal charges against the accused. In some cases, the government may allege that the debtor willfully transferred assets to another person or entity with the intent to fraudulently conceal those assets from the bankruptcy court. In such cases, the government could also bring federal criminal bankruptcy fraud charges against the debtor.
In addition to concealing assets, there are many other behaviors that are prohibited under the bankruptcy fraud statutes, which include but are not limited to:
- Fraudulently filing for bankruptcy in multiple states/locations
- Bribery of a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee
- Willfully filing for bankruptcy under a false identity
- Willfully providing falsified information on a bankruptcy petition or filing
- Committing perjury in a bankruptcy filing or during a bankruptcy hearing
The government will often prosecute bankruptcy fraud charges together with other types of federal fraud charges and/or other related federal crimes, such as identity theft, money laundering, credit card fraud, public corruption, mail/wire fraud, or similar offenses. When this is the case, it’s important to work with a DC federal bankruptcy fraud lawyer who also has experience handling other types of federal charges as well.
Penalties for a Bankruptcy Fraud Conviction
Bankruptcy fraud is considered a federal white collar crime and is prohibited under 18 U.S. Code Section 152. Anyone convicted of bankruptcy fraud is subject to a maximum of 5 years in prison and/or a substantial monetary fine. By working closely with a DC white collar bankruptcy fraud lawyer, you can work to mitigate the potential damage that can be incurred from charges like these.
Federal White Collar Defense in Washington, DC
A federal conviction for bankruptcy fraud can adversely impact one’s personal and professional reputation. Beyond incarceration and/or monetary fines, anyone convicted of bankruptcy fraud may be ineligible to hold a public professional license in the future, such as: a medical doctor, lawyer, registered nurse, or Certified Public Accountant, to name a few.
If you have been charged with or are being investigated for bankruptcy fraud or related federal criminal offenses please contact one of our experienced DC federal bankruptcy fraud attorneys today to schedule a confidential consultation.