Aware of Someone Fraudulently Hiding Assets While Declaring Bankruptcy? Report It.

Perhaps you were told a story while visiting someone who had filed for bankruptcy protection. He may have mentioned to you that he was hiding a piece of property, and did not declare it when he filed. He is committing bankruptcy fraud, which is a very serious offence, serious enough that when someone is convicted of bankruptcy fraud, he or she may serve time in jail. If you know that someone is fraudulently hiding assets, and they have declared bankruptcy, report that information. Reporting can be done anonymously. If you are uncertain where to report a situation such as this, call an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and ask.

There are only two pieces of information needed, should you choose to report bankruptcy fraud: where the person filed, and the individual’s full name and address. Include a brief note about the situation, with as much information as you have available, and send it to the U.S. Trustee Program at: Executive Office for U.S. Trustees Criminal Enforcement Unit 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Suite 8000 Washington, DC 20530. If, by chance, you have their case number, they would appreciate knowing that, as well. You may be able to find that information online, as all bankruptcy case files are readily accessible to the public.

In the correspondence sent to the Trustee Program, outline what kind of fraud the person allegedly committed, whether that is hiding an asset, illegally transferred it or lied about owning it. Put it in your own words. No one expects you to be familiar with legal terminology. Just be as specific as possible about the incident you are reporting, and how you came to know the details of what supposedly happened. If you want to include your contact information, you may. You may also call the police or the national U.S. Trustee’s office. Your other option would be to call your local state field office or bankruptcy court; numbers for those locations are readily available on the U.S. Trustee Program’s website. Once you have given the information to the authorities, you will not hear back from them on the status of any investigation that may or may not be underway.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit or call 1.877.888.1766.

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