February 7, 2012
You may be concerned that you have committed bankruptcy fraud by omitting something or making an error on your bankruptcy paperwork. The main thing to realize when thinking about bankruptcy fraud is the word "intent". There is no need to worry about innocent bankruptcy form errors when filling out your paperwork. To be punishable as bankruptcy fraud, there is going to need to be the intent to defraud.
The penalties for committing bankruptcy fraud can be severe. For starters, your bankruptcy case is likely to be thrown out and you will continue to be liable for your debts. This alone, can be a huge penalty for a bankruptcy petitioner that could amount to tens of, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars now not being allowed to be discharged. A potntial, huge, life changing mistake.
Bigger and clearly obvious cases of fraud are likely to be prosecuted further. Fines can range from small amounts all the way up to $250,000 and a sentance of up to 5 years in jail can be handed down. Jail sentances and fines are rare in the normal, run of the mill, consumer bankruptcy case.
So don't worry excessively about making an innocent mistake with your bankruptcy forms but worry enough to where you put adequate thought and care into filling them out and listing everything. Although you won't have your case thrown out for innocent mistakes you may have to redo large portions of youre paperwork, causing time delays in your case. This can also be costly when lawyers are involved.
So it is important to keep everything in perspective. Your bankruptcy is going to releive a huge, life changing amount of debt for you. Take it seriously and take your time to fill out the paperwork thoroughly and completely. Do it right the first time so you can relax later.