What to Do if You Are Accused of Bankruptcy Fraud in New York City

What to Do if You Are Accused of Bankruptcy Fraud in New York City

Most people get all the way through bankruptcy without a hitch.

But every now and then, something goes wrong.

Maybe you tried filing on your own and you made a mistake. Maybe you forgot to tell your lawyer something important, or missed a financial document you really should have shared.

Maybe you did something prior to the bankruptcy you didn’t know would be a problem, and so never brought it up with your attorney. Now you’re in hot water, and you’re being charged with bankruptcy fraud.

Until now, you might have thought bankruptcy fraud was limited to big businesses, celebrities, and the very rich. Now you, a perfectly normal person, are facing one of the scariest things you’ll ever face.

Get a criminal attorney.

While it may be natural to assume your bankruptcy lawyer is the right person to handle a bankruptcy fraud charge as well, this usually isn’t the case unless your bankruptcy lawyer happens to be a criminal lawyer as well.

You’re being accused of fraud. The problem is no longer a bankruptcy problem. At this point, the bankruptcy court takes its civil actions against you and can pass your case on to the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI.

Bankruptcy is just the vehicle you’re accused of using to defraud your creditors.

You face criminal penalties if you’re convicted. Recognize you’re being accused of a federal crime. You need someone with the experience and expertise to handle your white collar crime case.

Keep your mouth shut.

Resist the urge to say anything about your case, even to family members and friends.

When you talk to your criminal defense attorney about your case, the information is privileged. Nobody can compel an attorney to testify or discuss what his or her client has said.

But if you rant to your Mom about your bankruptcy case and say something incriminating, your Mom can be brought in as a witness and can be compelled to testify against you. That goes double for saying anything to law enforcement, prosecutors, or anyone else without your lawyer present to advise you.

It goes triple for saying anything on social media. You might want to because you’re bound to be angry. But you need to stay as calm and as silent as possible.

See also: Falsely Accused? Know Your Options.

Don’t panic.

One of the things the prosecutor must prove in court is intent. If you made an honest mistake, we have a defense.

If we can’t get the charges dropped or dismissed we may be able to get the courts to agree to treat the problem as a civil matter. That’s not great for your finances or your life, but it will spare you the potential risk of jail time and the criminal record.

Even if you really did try to conceal assets or commit some other form of fraud, our law firm will treat you with compassion and respect. Good people make bad mistakes when they’re feeling desperate and emotional. You may have convinced yourself handing that one little piece of beloved jewelry over to Aunt Marge couldn’t possibly hurt, only to get burned.

Don’t assume we can’t defend you just because you’re guilty. You have the same right to representation as any other defendant, and we will work hard to ensure this situation does not shape the rest of your life.