Many Florida residents post pictures of themselves on Facebook that put them in an exotic location or in front of a flashy car. Some appear to be wearing expensive jewelry and sporting wads of cash. These photos might make for a good joke, but if an individual filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, the photos could cause trouble with the court.
Part of a Chapter 7 trustee’s duties is to ensure that a filer is not hiding assets that he or she does not want sold to pay creditors. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, the job got much easier. However, what some trustees do not count on is that the individual sometimes fakes the pictures.
For example, one Miami bankruptcy trustee saw a photo of a filer on Facebook wearing gold jewelry, so he sent an appraiser to the filer’s home without warning. It turned out that the jewelry was not real, but it could have been. Had it been, the filer could have suffered a variety of consequences relating to the bankruptcy. Many filers fail to realize that their social media accounts are not as private as they believe, and someone could be watching.
Social media sites can be fun and bring people together like never before, but they can also give someone the wrong impression. Taking a page from divorce attorneys, it would be a good idea to curtail any social media activity during the course of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety. The last thing that a Florida resident needs while trying to obtain a fresh financial start is an inquiry by the court that could jeopardize the ability to obtain a discharge.
Source: local10.com, “Asset hunters find flashy social media users often bankrupt“, Andrea Torres, Dec. 27, 2016