You might remember famous Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra, who pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud and admitted to stealing or destroying furnishings, baseball memorabilia and other property from his $18.5 million-dollar mansion. He also admitted to giving false testimony about the property he removed. Dykstra was sentenced to six months in federal prison and ordered to perform 500 hours of community service and pay $200,000 in restitution for his bankruptcy fraud.
Now, another celebrity has been charged with bankruptcy fraud. The “Real Housewives” series is known for its women who live lavish lifestyles and have extremely short tempers. Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice and her husband were indicted in a 39-count indictment for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.
Bankruptcy fraud is a serious offense. The type of fraud Dykstra committed and Giudice is charged with is called “concealment of assets,” which is the most common type of bankruptcy fraud. Concealment of assets occurs when a debtor hides assets during the declaration phase of bankruptcy, in an attempt to prevent the assets from being liquidated. Failing to disclose assets, transfer ownership of assets to family or friends or even transferring assets into offshore accounts could expose a debtor to criminal prosecution.
When you file for bankruptcy, it’s important to disclose all your assets or you will risk punishment. Your bankruptcy attorney can help you take all the appropriate legal steps to ensure you are adequately disclosing your financial interests in your bankruptcy. It’s a complicated process that can be made much easier by retaining expert Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyers to help you through the process.