Orlando Bankruptcy Fraud Defense Attorney
Accusations of bankruptcy fraud are very serious, as the penalties for conviction can be extremely harsh. Civil penalties can include things such as surrender of concealed assets, forfeiture of the right to a discharge, or the loss of exemptions that would otherwise apply, and criminal penalties can include up to a $250,000 fine per count and/or up to five years in prison per count.
If you’re being investigated for bankruptcy fraud or have been formally accused of committing bankruptcy fraud, you need an experienced federal defense attorney to fight for your rights and defend your freedom.
At Dan Eckhart Law, we understand the complex world of bankruptcy fraud and are committed to aggressively defending debtors accused of committing fraud. Attorney Dan Eckhart is a former Federal Prosecutor and Special Agent who spent years investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes. He now puts everything he learned while working for the Department of Justice to use defending those accused of bankruptcy fraud and other white-collar crimes.
Federal Bankruptcy Fraud Charges
Bankruptcy fraud can take many forms and can refer to a wide array of federal crimes committed within the context of a bankruptcy filing. Examples of conduct that may give rise to a charge of bankruptcy fraud include:
- Providing an incomplete list of assets
- Destroying financial documents
- Bribing, or otherwise trying to influence, a creditor
- Failing to disclose a debt
- Overstating expenses
- Misrepresenting income
- Falsifying documents
- Hiding assets
- Making false statements
Defending Against Bankruptcy Charges
The criminal offense of bankruptcy fraud falls under 18 U.S.C. § 152, which requires a debtor’s conduct to be “knowing and fraudulent.” Consequently, the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the conduct on which the charges are based occurred knowingly and fraudulently. The first line of defense, therefore, is to rely on the fact that the prosecutor cannot prove intent on the part of the defendant. Often, this is the strongest defense because it can be difficult for the prosecutor to prove fraudulent intent.
Other possible defenses in a bankruptcy fraud prosecution may include:
- Mistake — In the context of a bankruptcy fraud prosecution, the defense of “mistake” goes hand in hand with the inability to prove intent on the part of the prosecutor. If the debtor made a legitimate mistake, fraudulent intent cannot be proven. An example of a legitimate mistake would be if a debtor provided his/her attorney with the correct information regarding an asset or income; however, it was left off or listed incorrectly by the attorney when preparing the bankruptcy filings.
- Legitimate purpose — This defense is typically associated with conduct involving the sale or transfer of assets. Asset transfers that occurred just prior to filing for bankruptcy are scrutinized to prevent a debtor from gifting or selling an asset for less than fair market value in order to protect the asset from being used to satisfy creditor claims. A flagged sale might be explained by claiming that there was a legitimate reason for selling the asset for less than fair market value, such as to take advantage of a tax deduction.
- Statute of limitations — Most criminal offenses have a statute of limitations, which refers to the time frame within which the government must initiate a prosecution or be forever barred from doing so. In most cases, the statute of limitations for bankruptcy fraud is five years.
Get Help from Experienced Orlando Bankruptcy Fraud Defense Attorney Dan Eckhart
The Orlando law firm of Dan Eckhart Law has extensive experience representing both individuals and companies accused of bankruptcy fraud. Attorney Eckhart spent years investigating and prosecuting similar cases and now utilizes that experience to defend those who face accusations of fraud. The team at Eckhart Law is committed to protecting the rights of the accused and zealously defending those charged with bankruptcy fraud.
If you have reason to believe you are suspected of fraud, or you have been formally charged with bankruptcy fraud, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your future could be at stake.
Call us at 407.276.0500 or submit our online form today so we can get started on your defense.