This week I’m taking Bankruptcy in Indiana readers to court. Not actually, of course. I’m sharing lessons from actual court cases as summarized in a recent issue of Consumer Bankruptcy News.
Today’s cases illustrate one very important principle of bankruptcy: the importance of telling the truth. After twenty-five years as a debt consolidation lawyer in Indiana, I can tell you that the entire bankruptcy process is based on compromise. The new bankruptcy laws of Indiana are designed to treat everyone, debtors and creditors alike, as fairly as possible. And while none of the parties is likely to get everything on their “wish list”, the idea is that no one party is supposed to get favorable treatment at the expense of another party.
Now, in any situation, for real compromise to take place, everyone has to have the same information, and that information needs to be correct and honestly portrayed. It’s the same with bankruptcy in Indiana. Whether someone is coming to one of the four Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices for help to stop foreclosure, or payday loan debt help, or simply to file personal bankruptcy in Indiana, the first and most important task is to gather all the information that will be needed for the bankruptcy petition.
If less than full disclosure of the facts is what is served up, and the bankruptcy court finds out, there cannot be a happy ending to that story.
One New Jersey debtor, C., after pleading guilty to giving false testimony in his bankruptcy case and misusing a Social Security number that was not his own, was sentenced to twelve months in prison.
- In Louisiana, R., a local businessman, was indicted by a federal grand jury for concealing nearly $2 million in assets from his creditors at his bankruptcy hearing.
Now, I’ve helped more than 30,000 people file bankruptcy in Indiana, and I can tell you that most of them have no intention of lying or of concealing assets – they just need relief from debt and the chance for a fresh financial start. But, because they don’t know how to properly fill out the bankruptcy paperwork, (and of course they’re tense and upset after months of suffering under the burden of their financial problems) they leave out important information. They haven’t kept good records, they’ve been dealing with medical problems or perhaps a divorce – there are many reasons. The bottom line is they need a lawyer for bankruptcy to make sure the needed information is submitted in the needed way..
Today’s lesson from the court is simple: When people exploit the court system by lying about their assets, they are cheating creditors of their rights, and the bankruptcy system can’t work properly.
Categorised in: Bankruptcy Indiana
This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg