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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy fraud is a very serious matter. Federal authorities investigate and prosecute this crime very aggressively. So far this year, defendants in fraud cases have been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison and paid over three million dollars in fines and restitution.

Bribing a Trustee

These instances are rare, but certainly not unheard of. In addition to offering a trustee or other court-appointed official money or other property in exchange for looking the other way, some debtors offer jobs to a trustee's friend or relative or make some other indirect effort to exert undue influence.

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Although unexpected and unpaid medical bills remains the leading cause of all Chapter 7 bankruptcies filed in the U.S.today, credit card debt closely rivals as a strong contender.

For anyone contemplating consulting with a bankruptcy attorney within the coming New Year, the approaching holiday season may appear less than festive. As finances are already stretched, those with availability to credit cards may find themselves in a vicarious situation as the holiday season often entices shoppers into financial overindulgence.

About.com, an IAC company dedicated to assisting its online members with helpful advice, including personal finance, reminds those already in financial disarray to exhibit a measure of self-discipline to maintain a manageable limit when it comes to credit card purchases.

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

According to a bankruptcy judge in New Jersey, it is time to re-evaluate the way current law deals with student loan debt. In a recent article, Judge Michael B. Kaplan called burgeoning student loan debt a looming crisis that touches every generation of Americans. Although the Bankruptcy Code largely lives up to its purpose of providing debtors with a fresh start, student loans are the notable exception to this rule.

Judge Kaplan rightly explains that it was not always this way. Prior to 1978, student loans were fully dischargeable in a consumer bankruptcy, just like any other unsecured debt. Then, Congress slowly began eroding this protection, most notably in the Higher Education Amendments of 1986. That law stated that student loans could only be discharged after a showing of “hardship.” The statute did not define the term.

Current Law

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If you are currently considering debt relief through the liquidation of personal assets by petitioning for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, federal law mandates that you first seek pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and post-filing debtor education.

For all states, only excluding Alabama and North Carolina, The United States Trustee Program, under the jurisdiction of The U.S. Department of Justice, sanctions a number of approved credit counseling and debtor education programs. These non-profit organizations are available to the public through agency advertising confirming their association with the Trustee Program.

To determine which agency may be the best option for you, consult with your qualified bankruptcy attorney to review the list of approved credit counseling providers available online or through the bankruptcy clerk's office within your assigned district.

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The decision to petition the U.S. Courts for protection under Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a highly personal decision. For those deciding to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, choosing to move forward often stems from dire financial necessity in order to alleviate insurmountable debt through the “liquidation” or sale of a debtor's nonexempt property, with all proceeds scheduled to be distributed to awaiting creditors but at what cost publicly?

The stigma or deviation from the societal norm may be one of the leading reasons an individual may shy away from seeking financial solutions under Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Concerns that family, friends or business associates may ostracize or view them in a different light often adds to the stress of financial difficulties.

Although the bankruptcy stigma varies widely, there may still be some truth to the matter and any individual contemplating bankruptcy should first consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to determine whether seeking Chapter 7 protection is the best financial recourse.

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