Bankruptcy clients are occasionally surprised upon being advised that all assets and recent transfers must be listed as part of their bankruptcy case. Clients sometimes innocently believe that certain assets are inconsequential or that pre-bankruptcy planning, including asset transfers, are not pertinent to their bankruptcy case. When choosing your New Orleans bankruptcy attorney or attorney in your jurisdiction, be sure he or she has experience with the disclosure rules to avoid unforeseen consequences. Recent prosecutions by the bankruptcy division for the United States Attorney, including in New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana, evidence the severe consequences of intentionally failing to disclose assets and transfers when filing for bankruptcy relief.
For example, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana recently announced that a Bossier City, Louisiana man has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for hiding his business assets during bankruptcy proceedings. The bankrupt business owner was sentenced on one count of concealment of assets in a bankruptcy proceeding. He also was ordered to serve a year of supervised release. The business owner filed for chapter 7 protection on May 20, 2011, as the owner of a catering business. After filing, he had a third party sell a pick-up truck that belonged to the business, and some of the company’s catering equipment. Evidence shows that he failed to disclose that information to the bankruptcy trustee or list it on his bankruptcy petition as required. In bankruptcy proceedings, debtors are required to fully disclose all assets and liabilities.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy relief, be sure you consult an experienced New Orleans bankruptcy attorney (or in your jurisdiction) regarding the impact of pre-bankruptcy transfers and your disclosure obligations.