We have previously written about how important it is for a Debtor to be honest during the bankruptcy process. This was a particularly important lesson in a Chicago courtroom last month. Lynn Y. Zoiopoulos, an Illinois physician, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison because she concealed assets in her Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Many homeowners in crisis have turned to so-called foreclosure "rescue" firms. The owners of one such New Jersey foreclose rescue firm are being sued for allegedly violating state consumer fraud laws, as well as laws governing debt counseling and financial advertising.
Dance Mom Abby Lee Miller is due in court this month to be sentenced for her role in a bankruptcy fraud case. The case began nearly four years ago, when Miller filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming her business made only $8,899 per month.
As part of its recent crackdown on bankruptcy fraud, the FBI has arrested eight people who allegedly hid over $3 million from the bankruptcy court. In one case, the U.S. Attorney alleged that a woman gave nearly all of her assets, including a $1.8 million tax refund, $32,000 in furs, and over $100,000 in cash to her husband, and subsequently declared bankruptcy. Both the woman and her husband are charged with conspiracy to fraudulently transfer and conceal property in contemplation of a bankruptcy and other charges. In another case, a couple allegedly liquidated a certificate of deposit worth $141,000, and subsequently filed bankruptcy without telling the court about this cash. That couple was arrested and charged with multiple counts of bankruptcy fraud.
Homeowners who are facing foreclosure are prime targets for scammers.. Even though they often believe the deal is too good to be true, they are in a desperate situation and take the deal anyway. According to the NY Post, this is exactly what happened to Broadies Byas.
Robert J. Yonkee Jr., 54, was charged in a federal court with bankruptcy fraud. He allegedly provided false information about his assets and concealed property in his Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Mr. Yonkee is facing severe penalties, including 5 years in prison, fines up to $250,000 and up to 3 years of supervised release and 5 years of probation. Hiding assets Yonkee apparently had an ownership interest in an auto racing business that he failed to disclose to the bankruptcy court. The business sold vehicle parts and held inventory, capital and other valuable assets that were not made known to the creditors or trustee. False statements When a debtor files his bankruptcy schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs, it is done under penalty of perjury. Thus, Yonkee is accused of providing false financial statements in his filings. Additionally, he made false statements in his testimony at his meeting of creditors. Only time will tell if Yonkee is guilty of these charges, but his case is a reminder of how vital it is for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 debtors to be open and honest in their bankruptcy filings. Bankruptcy fraud carries severe penalties. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy protection, contact the skilled lawyers at Levitt & Slafkes. We can help you understand lawful ways of protecting your assets and whether bankruptcy is in your best interests. We are bankruptcy lawyers who know how to make a difference in your financial situation. We have experience you can rely on and we care about your results. Contact our New Jersey law firm online by filling out the form or by calling 973-323-2953 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at Levitt & Slafkes, PC.