Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Fraud Attorney
Representing Clients Facing Allegations of Bankruptcy Fraud
Filing for bankruptcy provides financial relief for thousands of individuals, married couples, and business owners in the United States each year. While bankruptcy has many options for debt relief, some people try to take advantage of the system. Understand, however, that the federal government takes any type of bankruptcy fraud extremely seriously, and people suspected of trying to cheat the system can face serious penalties.
If you believe you are being investigated or have been arrested for suspicion of bankruptcy fraud, you need a highly skilled white collar criminal defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible. The federal criminal justice system is quite different than Pennsylvania criminal courts, and white collar cases can be particularly serious. Your defense attorney should have extensive experience with federal white collar cases to ensure your case’s most favorable outcome.
At the law firm of Brian Zeiger in Philadelphia, we represent clients who are facing complex criminal allegations in either federal or state court. Please do not wait to contact our office today so we can evaluate your situation.
Types of Bankruptcy Fraud Crimes
“Bankruptcy fraud” refers to a wide range of actions that intend to defraud the bankruptcy court and, in turn, the federal government. The nature of your allegations will determine the specific charges against you and the possible penalties you may face upon conviction. Examples of bankruptcy crimes include:
- Concealing property or assets from the court
- Making false statements under oath
- Filing false claims against a bankruptcy estate
- Filing fraudulent bankruptcy petitions
- Bribery of bankruptcy officials
- Embezzlement or fiduciary fraud
While bankruptcy filers are the parties most often accused of fraud, others can also face bankruptcy fraud charges including creditors, attorneys, trustees, and others involved in the bankruptcy process.
Bankruptcy Fraud Investigations
Because bankruptcy is filed in federal court, federal authorities will pursue any fraud charges. Many different federal agencies may work together to investigate possible bankruptcy fraud, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). All of these agencies have significantly more funding for investigations than local or state law enforcement, so federal investigations are often extremely extensive.
Federal agents want to gather as much evidence of a crime as possible before turning the case over to the U.S. Attorney, which files federal indictments and pursues convictions. By the time charges are filed, the U.S. Attorney can often use a mountain of evidence against a defendant in almost any type of case.
During an investigation, agents may contact you for questioning. They may even state that you are not personally under investigation but that you may have helpful information. This is particularly common when a business is the subject of a bankruptcy fraud investigation and you play a leadership role in the company. Remember that these agents are not on your side and they can use any information against you. They do not have to be honest when stating you are not under investigation—and you very well may be a potential suspect.
Because the information gathered during federal investigations is so vital to a criminal case, you should never agree to answer questions without a skilled federal defense attorney present to represent you. Our firm can provide assistance throughout an investigation to ensure that you do not say anything that can be used against you and that your constitutional rights are fully protected.
Defending Against Bankruptcy Fraud Charges
Bankruptcy fraud allegations can range from hiding assets from the court to filing multiple petitions in different courts with false Social Security numbers or other information obtained from identity theft. While the scope of accused fraud may vary, one factor in bankruptcy fraud cases remains the same—you must have had the intent to defraud the court to be convicted of a bankruptcy crime.
Fraud during the bankruptcy process must be intentional, and one of the most common defenses to this type of allegation is that the false information or omission was unintentional and the result of a simple error. While the prosecutor claims you are hiding assets, you may have actually simply forgotten that you transferred certain funds to a different account. If a company is accused of hiding assets, perhaps it was due to accounting errors or fraudulent acts of other owners, but you had no knowledge of the scheme. These are only some examples of how you might use a lack of intent defense against bankruptcy fraud allegations.
Another important role for a knowledgeable defense attorney: Working to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the U.S. Attorney. If agreeing to plead guilty makes sense in your case—which should always be evaluated on an individual basis—your attorney may get your charges reduced significantly. Finally, your attorney will represent your rights and interests at every court hearing, guiding you through the complex federal criminal process while ensuring your rights are upheld.
Contact a Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Fraud Defense Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Never take lightly or ignore bankruptcy fraud allegations—or even suspicions. These cases can be extensive and may involve serious criminal and financial penalties. Any person or business owner suspected of any type of bankruptcy fraud should seek qualified defense representation immediately.
The law office of white-collar criminal defense attorney Brian Zeiger has the resources and experience to handle even the most complex white-collar cases. Look to our office for the advice and representation you need in your bankruptcy fraud case. Please do not delay in calling (215) 546-0340 or contacting us online to discuss how we can assist you.