U.S. Attorney’s Office Says it is Aggressively Investigating Bankruptcy Fraud

On Monday, we discussed the case of  Robert “Dr. Shine” Freeman, 56, of Indian Head, who founded Save the Seed Ministry, Save the Seed International Church and Seed Faith International Church, and was sentenced to 27 months in prison in July for bankruptcy fraud.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Freeman was able to discharge hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt because he concealed assets during his bankruptcy.  We always recommend being honest with your attorney and the court during a bankruptcy proceeding. As in Freeman’s case, dishonesty can lead to charges of fraud, which can land you serious prison time. A statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office following the sentencing of Freeman said:

“Concealing assets and making false statements in bankruptcy court is a crime,” stated Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office. “The prosecution of individuals, such as Mr. Freeman, who intentionally conceal assets and commit bankruptcy fraud ranks high on the list of IRS Criminal Investigation’s enforcement priorities. Today’s sentencing is an example of how serious the courts perceive the violation of U.S. bankruptcy law.”

Freeman’s case makes it clear that officials mean business when it comes to bankruptcy fraud. As we’ve said before, honesty is the best policy when it comes to bankruptcy proceedings, whether you’re filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

Trustees and creditors can question your disclosures, especially if you make decisions to purchase property after filing. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Freeman had two Mercedes Benz vehicles and a Lincoln Navigator purchased or leased for more than $430,000 in the name of a church member following his filing. This was not a smart move, as these cars had trails of documentation associated with them that were easily found.

According to the release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Freeman’s prosecution was part of an ongoing effort backed by the White House to go after people who commit financial crimes. “Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants.”

On Friday, we will discuss types of documentation you need to provide to have a successful bankruptcy filing. If you need relief from things like credit card debt and medical bills, bankruptcy can be a solution. If you feel like you are drowning financially because of debts, our Washington DC and Maryland bankruptcy attorney can help you with a free consultation by filling out the contact form on this website or by calling (202) 888-8454 to schedule an appointment. We can offer you the best solution for whatever your debt issues may be.

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