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Massachusetts Lawyer Denied Bankruptcy Discharge

Personal bankruptcy law gives the debtor a “fresh start.” The bankruptcy petition will be denied, however, when the Trustee finds assets or a fraud in the Petition. In another case handed down this month by Federal Bankruptcy Judge Feeny, a lawyer attempting to discharge his debts had his bankruptcy case denied because he “concealed property of the [bankruptcy] estate, failed to maintain accurate, complete and reliable books and records, or made false oaths or accounts in connection with his case” such as bank accounts, investment accounts.

In this case, the lawyer debtor made false statements in his Petition, on his Petition Schedules, in oral testimony at the 341 Creditor’s hearing, and that those false statements were “material and intended to mislead the Trustee and creditors.” The attorney debtor also failed to disclose assets such as contingency fee cases, where a future settlement or judgment was clearly an asset. The debtor’s defense was lack of intent, however, the Court found the opposite due to the “nature and extent of the inaccuracies.”