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Couple charged with white collar crime in bankruptcy

A Palm Beach couple who have gone through significant financial problems in recent years now find themselves in legal trouble, as well. They have been charged with failing to disclose significant assets within their personal bankruptcy filing. This is a white collar crime that many in Florid are not even aware that they are committing.

The couple filed for bankruptcy after the husband's medical practice lost a $4.3 million court case with an insurance company. They claimed to be in debt for nearly $3 million. As for assets, the couple listed less than $13,000. However, a court review uncovered additional items of value that had not been included in that tally.

Among the items left out of the total asset pool were a gold and diamond wedding band, a set of chin and a set of silverware. In addition, several other pieces of jewelry and additional household items were not listed as assets. As a result of these findings, the couple's bankruptcy was denied discharge. In addition, they now face fines that could approach $250,000, as well as up to five years in prison.

No information has been made available concerning how the Florida couple will respond to the accusation that they intentionally withheld items of value from the bankruptcy process. However, the list of assets seems to be full of items that would normally be obtained as wedding gifts. It is possible that the parties believed that these items would fall outside of the scope of inclusions within their bankruptcy filing. As this white collar crime case moves forward, more information may be made available concerning the reasons behind that omission, as well as how the error might alter the course of the coming years for both husband and wife.

Source: South Florida Business Journal, "Couple faces criminal charges for hiding pricey items from bankruptcy", Brian Bandell, Sept. 15, 2014

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