Bankruptcy fraud is a serious offence that can lead to jail time, according to the U.S. Trustee Program and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.) About 1.4 million people filed for bankruptcy in 2009; only 18 people were prosecuted that year for bankruptcy fraud. If you suspect a business or personal acquaintance has committed fraudulent acts such as hiding assets or lying to get credit and then filing bankruptcy, you should report such crimes to the authorities and can even choose to do so anonymously.
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Things you need
- The person's full name and address
- Where that person filed bankruptcy
Type a brief statement with as much information as you can provide about the person who allegedly committed bankruptcy fraud. The U.S. Trustee Program prefers to receive correspondence with the alleged criminal's full name and address, the city in which they filed personal bankruptcy and the case number. If you don't have all the details, consider calling a local bankruptcy court to ask for the case number; all bankruptcy case files are a matter of public record.
Specifically note what type of bankruptcy fraud you believe the person has committed. If he hid an asset, write what kind of asset it was and whether he lied about owning it or illegally transferred it to someone else. If you have information that he lied to obtain credit, outline what specifically happened. You should also mention how you came to learn this information; the U.S. Trustee Program website notes that successful prosecutions for bankruptcy fraud largely depend upon the extent of the initial report offered to investigators.
Include your full name, mailing address and phone number if you wish to do so. You can make anonymous bankruptcy fraud reports, but it's much easier for federal officials to investigate claims if the complainant offers a way for them to ask necessary follow-up questions.
Mail the letter to the following address:
Executive Office for U.S. Trustees Criminal Enforcement Unit 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Suite 8000 Washington, DC 20530
Call your local police or the national U.S. Trustee's office at 202-307-2759 or 202-353-3548, if you do not wish to make a report by postal mail. Alternatively, you can call your local bankruptcy court or state's field office; the appropriate numbers are located on the U.S. Trustee Program's website.
Tips and warnings
- Remember that federal officials cannot confirm or deny whether your bankruptcy fraud report is actually under investigation.
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