Many Michigan residents, and particularly those who know people who have been through the process before, may think that filing for bankruptcy is a relatively straightforward matter that can be handled without the assistance of an attorney. While this may be true in some cases, people really should think twice in light of the following story from another state.
A woman who filed for bankruptcy several times over five years will spend one year in a federal prison. She was convicted in connection with a federal operation designed to curb bankruptcy fraud. The woman had attempted to file bankruptcy in 2009 and listed almost $300,000 in debt. Although much of this debt was from a mortgage, she reported that almost $75,000 of that debt was owed to unsecured creditors. For whatever reason, her bankruptcy petition failed.
Rather than simply accept this setback or try to find a legal means to work around it, the woman proceeded to file additional bankruptcy petitions over the course of five years. While there is no allegation that she actually lied in these petitions, she did omit key information, including information about her social security number and her previous bankruptcy filings.
While many Michigan residents would not be tempted to go to the extreme of trying to file multiple bankruptcies under the radar, many people who are trying to do a bankruptcy themselves may, for innocuous reasons, omit information that a bankruptcy court finds extremely important. Even if completely accidental, these omissions can land a person in legal hot water.
Therefore, it may bring peace to one's mind to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help him or her with filing for bankruptcy. An attorney can help ensure that forms are correctly and completely filled out and can thereby bring some peace to a person who is already dealing with stressful financial struggles.
Source: Dallas Morning News "Dallas woman who filed for bankruptcy six times in four years given federal prison time," Kevin Krause, July 18, 2014.