Colorado Federal Criminal Law – Bankruptcy Fraud
Colorado Indictments for Bankruptcy Fraud
Bankruptcy fraud is covered in 18 U.S.C. section 152 and includes a variety of offense conduct, including concealment of assets, lying during a bankruptcy proceeding, false claims, knowingly receiving property from the debtor and omission of assets on a bankruptcy petition.
The corresponding United States Sentencing Guideline is 2B1.1(b).
Under this guideline, the amount of loss is an important sentencing factor because it can greatly increase a defendant’s base offense level.
For example, the base offense level for bankruptcy fraud is a level 6, however, a ten-level increase is applied if the amount of loss is more than $120,000.00.
The amount of loss is the amount of loss caused by the fraud.
A federal defense attorney will want to calculate this figure as early as possible in the case so that it can be decreased or capped at a certain amount.
When calculating an offender’s amount of loss, the sentencing court considers the amount of debt discharged or the amount that was intended to be discharged, as well as the value of any concealed or omitted assets from the bankruptcy proceedings.
In certain circumstances, the district court may also consider intended loss when calculating this figure.
Other sentencing enhancements for bankruptcy fraud include:
? the use of sophisticated means,
? multiple victims affected by the fraud and
? misrepresentation during the course of a bankruptcy proceeding, which is almost always applied in these types of cases.
If the offense involved 10 or more victims, a two-level enhancement is applied to a defendant’s base offense level. Victims may include creditors.
If a defendant uses sophisticated means to perpetrate the fraud, another two-level increase is applied during the sentencing hearing. Sophisticated means is especially complex acts or methods which assist in concealing the offense conduct. This includes using offshore accounts or shell corporations as well as setting up fictitious entities.
A Colorado federal criminal defense lawyer will object to these enhancements which are listed in a offender’s pre-sentence investigation report.
A probation officer prepares the pre-sentence investigation report, but the ultimate decision to apply these enhancements rests with the District Court judge. Therefore, an experienced federal lawyer will file written objections to these enhancements in order to save their clients substantial prison time at the sentencing.
The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm handles all types of fraud cases, including bankruptcy fraud, mortgage fraud and bank fraud. If you have been indicted for fraud, you will need to hire a Colorado criminal attorney who handles federal cases.
Federal attorneys are familiar with the United States Sentencing Guidelines and will therefore be able to effectively represent you against the government.
Colorado Bankruptcy Fraud – Additional Information
The most common form of bankruptcy fraud is the concealment of assets and / or making false statements. Making false statements also perjury and false testimony in a federal judicial proceeding. The offense of concealment of assets can be committed by failing to list an asset on the petition in bankruptcy relating to a debtor.
The elements of a Bankruptcy Fraud Charge must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
1. concealment 2. knowing and fraudulent 3 .of property of the estate of a debtor 4. in a bankruptcy case
Bankruptcy crimes (18 U.S.C. section 152) include the following conduct:
- concealment of assets
- making a false oath in a bankruptcy proceeding,
- knowingly making a false or fraudulent account declaration,
- presenting false claims against a bankruptcy estate,
- receiving property with the intent to defeat the Bankruptcy Code,
- transfers with the intent to defeat Title 11,
- fraudulent pre-bankruptcy transfers,
- concealment or destruction of records,
- fraudulently withholding recorded information from a Bankruptcy Trustee.
Bankruptcy fraud is sometimes tought to prove in court – the United States Attorney (the prosecutor) will search to find circumstances which involve a substantial monetary loss and the consequent evidence is necessary to prove fraud.
The offense guideline section applicable to Bankruptcy Fraud is U.S.S.G. section 2B1.1, this guideline is also used for larceny, embezzlement, bank fraud and forgery.
The Base offense level starts at 6, but is increased based on the amount of loss determined by the District Court at sentencing. The amount of loss often includes the amount owed to creditors or the value of the assets concealed
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg represents clients in Federal Bankruuptcy Fraud cases in Denver, Colorado and the surrounding areas, including Douglas, Arapahoe, Adams, El Paso (Colorado Springs), Jefferson, Larimer, Gilpin, Broomfield, Pueblo,Weld, and Boulder Counties. Mr. Steinberg has experience representing clients at all phases of trial, from answering simple questions to fighting for the accused in court. If you are located in the Front Range of Colorado the Denver Area, Ft. Collins, and Colorado Springs and you need legal assistance regarding weapons charges, call Colorado Criminal Defense Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg at (720).220.2277 for a free consultation and to discuss the specific facts of your case.