On behalf of The Golden Law Group posted in consumer bankruptcy
For someone considering bankruptcy, the question of what property can be kept, rather than sold to pay off creditors, is very important. It’s only natural, when exploring debt relief options, to ask whether you can keep your home or your car.
We can explain what bankruptcy protection can do to help protect those assets. Keep in mind, however, that you aren’t likely to be allowed to keep sizable amounts of cash. Above all, you should never consider trying to hide assets from the bankruptcy court.
In a recent Florida case, a Clearwater man named Gary K. Parker listed less than $1000 in assets when he declared bankruptcy a few years ago. But he did not disclose to the court that he had kept for himself an account containing over $35,000.
In September 2010, Parker pleaded guilty to knowingly making false statements to the court. This is a felony crime that could send him to prison for five years when he is sentenced next month.
Bankruptcy court judges say this type of sentence is needed to serve as a deterrent to others who might toy with the idea of trying to hide assets. “There’s no way to keep people honest, absent this kind of message or deterrent,” says Catherine Peek McEwen, one of the judges at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tampa.
The tough economy has increased the number of bankruptcy filings in Florida and around the country – and created plenty of incentive for people to try to hold onto more property than they are entitled to in bankruptcy. That temptation should always be resisted, because hiding assets is wrong and the consequences can be severe.
Source: “Hiding Assets from Bankruptcy Claims Can Become Expensive,” St. Petersburg Times, 2-19-11