Federal Bankruptcy Criminal Statutes

Criminal statutes that apply to bankruptcy fraud are 18 U.S.C. Section 152 that specifically prohibits knowingly and fraudulently (1) concealing property of the estate; (2) making a false oath or account; (3) making a false declaration, verification or statement under penalty of perjury; (4) presenting or using a false proof of claim against a debtor estate; (5) receiving, post-petition, a material amount of property from a debtor with intent to defeat the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code; (6) offering, receiving, or attempting to obtain consideration for acting or refraining from acting in a case under the Bankruptcy Code; (7) transferring or concealing property in contemplation of a bankruptcy case or with intent to defeat the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code; (8) post-petition concealment or alteration of records; and (9) post-petition withholding of a debtor’s records.

The statute applies to anyone who commits any of the above including debtors, creditors, fiduciaries and anyone else.

Section 153 of Title 18 makes it a crime for anyone to appropriate to their own use, embezzle, spend, or transfer any property belonging to a debtor’s estate, and any actions of the same ”persons” if they secret or destroy any document belonging to a debtor’s estate.

Section 155 of title 18 prohibits knowing and fraudulent agreements that are aimed at fixing compensation in bankruptcy cases.

Section 157 of Title 18 is actually entitled ”Bankruptcy Fraud” prohibits a person from (1) filing a bankruptcy petition; (2) filing a document in a bankruptcy case or proceeding; or (3) making a false or fraudulent representation, claim, or promise concerning or in relation to a prepetition or pending bankruptcy case or proceeding (or a proceeding falsely asserted to be pending) if these acts are done as part of the scheme to defraud.

Other bankruptcy fraud criminal charges may include tampering with or falsifying records (18 U.S.C. Section 1519)

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