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Aware of Someone Fraudulently Hiding Assets While Declaring Bankruptcy? Report It.

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Perhaps you were told a story while visiting someone who had filed for bankruptcy protection. He may have mentioned to you that he was hiding a piece of property, and did not declare it when he filed. He is committing bankruptcy fraud, which is a very serious offence punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or up to 5 years in prison.  If you know that someone is fraudulently hiding assets, and they have declared bankruptcy, report that information. Reporting can be done anonymously. If you are uncertain where to report a situation such as this, call an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and ask.

The information you will need to provide if you choose to report bankruptcy fraud is the location of the Court where the person filed (which district within which State), the individual’s full name and address, and a brief note about the situation, with as much information as you have available. It is best if you can outline the kind of fraud the debtor allegedly committed, such as hiding an asset, illegally transferring an asset, or lying about owning an asset.  Rest assured it is okay for you to simply put it in your own words.  No one expects you to be familiar with legal terminology, just be as specific as possible about the incident you are reporting, and how you came to know the details of what supposedly happened. If you want to include your contact information, you may.

When your report is complete, send it to the U.S. Trustee Program at: Executive Office for U.S. Trustees Criminal Enforcement Unit 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Suite 8000 Washington, DC 20530. If you happen to also know the individual’s bankruptcy case number, the Trustee appreciates that as well. You may be able to find that information online, as all bankruptcy case files are readily accessible to the public.

You may also choose to report the bankruptcy fraud to the police, the national U.S. Trustee’s office, your local state field office, or the bankruptcy court. You can find telephone numbers for some of these locations on the U.S. Trustee Program’s website. Once you have given your report to the authorities, do not automatically expect a personal response. You may not ever directly hear back from them on the status of any investigation that may or may not be underway.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit http://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Monday, October 15th, 2012 and filed under News and Press.
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