It is very important that anyone contemplating bankruptcy understand that fraud and perjury are bankruptcy crimes that are taken very seriously. Fraudulently concealing debts or assets, forgery, intentional misrepresentations—these are all bankruptcy crimes. Very recently, Teresa Giudice, a cast member of The Real Housewives of New Jersey was sentenced and jailed for bankruptcy crimes. She turned herself in and has started her 15-month jail term.
Other famous people who have done hard time for bankruptcy crimes are:
- Lenny Dykstra, famous baseball player and member of the World Champion New York Mets. He was a better baseball player than a businessman and soon found all of his money was gone and had to file bankruptcy. The bigger problem was that instead of getting a fresh start he sold items belonging to the bankruptcy estate, destroyed and hid other assets, and wound up in federal prison.
- Randy Jackson, the youngest member of the Jackson 5, pleaded guilty to failing to disclose a Chevrolet Suburban.
- Rowe Messner was a contractor specializing in building churches, but was famously married to televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. He ended up in federal prison for concealing assets.
- Peter Pocklington was the former owner of the Edmonton Oilers, of the National Hockey League. He was perhaps more famous for trading Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. Mr. Pocklington fell onto hard times and filed bankruptcy, but not before committing fraud and perjury, ultimately being sentenced to prison.
Bankruptcy is an option to consider for all honest people who cannot pay their debts and want a fresh start. Be warned, however, there are dire consequences for those who try to defraud the system and perjure themselves in bankruptcy court. Checkett & Pauly is always ready to help an honest person who has fallen on hard times, but we have no interest whatsoever in representing the dishonest or fraudulent.