First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms False Oath Charge Against Bankruptcy Debtor

In a revised opinion recently released by the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the court affirmed a bankruptcy court’s decision to dismiss a man’s personal bankruptcy because he “committed a false oath” by failing to disclose a retirement account in his bankruptcy filings. Although the man did include the value of the account in other filings, the First Circuit accepted the district court’s conclusion that the omission was knowing, fraudulent, and material to the case. With the dismissal of his bankruptcy petition confirmed, the debtor will be unable to discharge any of his debts through a bankruptcy proceeding anytime soon.

CourtroomThe Debtor Supplies His Attorney with Information for All Accounts

The debtor in the case of Premiere v. Crawford is a man who petitioned the bankruptcy court for relief from his excessive debt. His attorney prepared a bankruptcy petition and the required schedules, which were affirmed as true by the debtor and submitted to the court. Upon reviewing the Petition and schedules, the appellee, a creditor who holds a judgment against the debtor for over $800,000, noticed that the debtor had failed to list the existence of a “Cash Balance Plan” under his retirement accounts. Although the value of the account was included under the total for “Retirement Accounts” in the debtor’s disclosures, the creditor alleged that he had intentionally and fraudulently excluded the name of the plan from his disclosures and requested that his case be dismissed as a result of the false oath.

The Bankruptcy Court’s Conclusion that the Debtor Made a False Oath

The bankruptcy court ruled in favor of the creditor and dismissed the debtor’s bankruptcy claim, a ruling that was upheld on appeal to the district court and again by the First Circuit. The bankruptcy court found that the debtor was a “financially sophisticated individual” who knew of the existence of the Cash Balance Plan when he prepared and submitted the schedule from which it was excluded. Based on other dishonest actions and evasive answers he gave at trial, the bankruptcy court held that the debtor failed to list the plan in an attempt to deceive creditors and the court. As a result of the ruling, the debtor will be unable to discharge any of his debts.

A Skilled and Honest Bankruptcy Attorney Is Necessary to Prevent Important Mistakes or Omissions

The bankruptcy court imposed a serious sanction on the debtor by dismissing his claim. However, the retirement account the debtor failed to list should never have been excluded from the appropriate schedules. Although the recent opinion agrees that the debtor in this case knew what he was doing in trying to deceive creditors as to the nature of his assets, similar mistakes or omissions have been made in bankruptcies because the debtor’s attorney is inexperienced or dishonest with their clients or the court. Having an experienced bankruptcy attorney with integrity at your side during a bankruptcy proceeding can help avoid the types of mistakes or omissions that can result in a claim being dismissed.

Are You Overwhelmed in Debt and Seeking Relief?

If you or a loved one is having problems with insurmountable debt, bankruptcy could provide you with an avenue to relief. Retaining an honest and competent bankruptcy attorney like the Louisville and Southern Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at the Schwartz Bankruptcy Law Center may be the first step toward living a life free of debt. Our attorneys understand the types of debt that can be successfully discharged, and we uphold our duties to our clients and the courts. Make the decision to get legal help. Mistakes that are made early in a bankruptcy may become permanent and could disqualify you from future relief. Our bankruptcy attorneys represent clients throughout the U.S. in all bankruptcy proceedings. Call 866-366-3328 or contact us through our website to schedule a risk-free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Debtor Is Denied All Relief after Making False Statements in Bankruptcy Petition, Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyers Blog, published October 28, 2016.

Bankruptcy Appellate Panel Affirms Order Discharging a Former Inmate’s Incarceration-Related Costs, Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyers Blog, published October 5, 2016.

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