For those in Florida who are considering filing for bankruptcy, there are a number of positive aspects. Creditor harassment stops. A home foreclosure can be halted. Wage garnishment ends. Some debts are eliminated completely and others can be reduced. Depending on whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies, it is possible to get a fresh financial start.

An important aspect during a bankruptcy filing is the full disclosure of both assets and debts. Everything must be included. The knowing failure to include an asset or debt in a bankruptcy filing not only puts the bankruptcy itself at risk, it carries the potential of criminal charges and actual jail time.

According to a recent news report, an accountant attempted to hide some assets during his bankruptcy process. The attempt was discovered and the 66-year-old man from Mount Dora was convicted of a federal felony for attempting to hide $700,000 in assets.

As an accountant with an elderly parent, he was in charge of a bank account that was his mothers, and on which he was a signer. News sources report that the man transferred about $700,000 into the joint account prior to filing for bankruptcy in 2005. During his bankruptcy, he hid this account from the court while using the money for a Lake County country club, a nice car and to pay off a mortgage on a commercial building in another state. He also drew cash out of the account.

On the day he filed a motion to dismiss his bankruptcy case, he transferred $360,000 into another account.

It was not stated how the extra funds were discovered, but apparently they were and the man was convicted. He is facing up to five years in jail for bankruptcy fraud.

This story illustrates the importance of full disclosure during the bankruptcy process. Less than full disclosure could get a person in serious trouble.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Accountant convicted of hiding $700K during his bankruptcy case,” Ludmilla Lelis, Aug. 28, 2012