Bankruptcy – can you just amend to make the problems go away?

The answer usually is yes… but this court decision begs to differ.
As quoted in the recent 7th Circuit decision

Stamat v. Neary, No. 09-3448 (March 24, 2011) N.D. Ill., E. Div. Affirmed

The US trustee objected to discharge of the debtor under 11 USC 724(a)(4). The debtor had several glaring omissions and errors in the schedules and statement of financial affairs. Apparently, the debtor misstated income on debtor’s tax return, although defunct at the time of filing, the debtor failed to schedule interests in 2 former businesses, and 2 limited partnerships. Debtor also failed to list proceeds of the refinance of the debtors home, with receipts totaling $90,000. The court determined that these were not mere oversights for which an amendment could be made. the 7th circuit said that the bankruptcy court could properly rule that these omissions and errors were material and reckless given debtors’ post-secondary education and business experience. The debtor did amend to correct these issues, but the court ruled that the objection to discharge would stand, as these did not mitigate the damage that was already done in the case due to the reckless omissions of the material facts of the case.

Therefore, moral of the story is to list all assets, debts, and fully complete the statement of financial affairs and the rest of the bankruptcy petition as required by law. You can’t always file now, and fix them up later. Always use a competent, and diligent bankruptcy attorney when filing your case.

As a Chicago bankruptcy attorney, I understand the importance of having a bankruptcy petition that is true, accurate and complete, done right, the first time around.

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Terrance Leeders

Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney, husband, father, Cubs fan.

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