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  • Louisa P.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Robert and the team at Stiberman Law are truly exceptional. I was faced with the daunting task of navigating bankruptcy, and from the moment I contacted them, I knew I was in good hands Read More
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  • Arlene S.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Excellent Lawyer, friendly and on top of things and reliable and efficient. I had to go through bankruptcy twice and I trusted them every time. I had the best experience with Robert and Read More
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    I was referred by a friend to this bankruptcy attorney. Mr. Stiberman and his staff was very courteous, knowledgeable and very caring towards my concerns. I am pleased with the outcom Read More
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    The process was relatively easy, I would recommend Stiberman Law to anyone who finds themselves in need of a bankruptcy attorney.
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    I have to say that I have had a great experience with Stiberman Law regarding a bankruptcy and they have been very informative and supportive. They have been very helpful and always ans Read More
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What is a Bankruptcy Audit: Understanding the Purpose and Process

Filing for bankruptcy can be challenging and daunting for many individuals and businesses. One aspect that might add to the stress of this experience is the possibility of undergoing a bankruptcy audit. But what exactly is a bankruptcy audit? In this article, we’ll dive into the details of bankruptcy audits, their purpose, and how to prepare for them.

Understanding Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows individuals or businesses who cannot repay their debts to seek relief from some or all of their financial obligations. It is designed to provide a fresh start for those facing insurmountable debt and financial distress.

Types of Bankruptcy

There are several types of bankruptcy that individuals and businesses can file for, including:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

This type of bankruptcy is also known as “liquidation” bankruptcy. It involves the sale of a debtor’s non-exempt assets to pay off as much debt as possible. The remaining unsecured debt is then discharged, effectively wiping the slate clean for the debtor.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Primarily used by businesses, Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows for reorganizing a debtor’s business affairs and assets. The debtor creates a repayment plan that the bankruptcy court approves, and creditors are paid over time according to the plan.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed for individuals with a steady income who want to repay their debts over time. It involves creating a court-approved repayment plan that usually lasts three to five years.

Bankruptcy Audit: A Closer Look

Purpose of a Bankruptcy Audit

A bankruptcy audit reviews the financial information a debtor provides during the bankruptcy process. The primary purpose of a bankruptcy audit is to ensure the accuracy and truthfulness of the information provided, detect fraud, and identify any discrepancies. Source: Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23 (2005).

Selecting Cases for Audits

Bankruptcy audits are not performed on every case. Instead, a certain percentage of cases are randomly audited by the United States Trustee Program, which is part of the Department of Justice. The selection process is designed to maintain the integrity of the bankruptcy system and deter fraud. Source: 28 U.S.C. § 586(f)(1).

Conducting a Bankruptcy Audit

The Role of an Auditor

An independent, certified public accountant or bankruptcy audit firm performs the bankruptcy audit. These auditors are responsible for reviewing the debtor’s financial records, verifying their income and expenses, and ensuring the accuracy of the information provided in the bankruptcy petition.

The Bankruptcy Audit Process

During the bankruptcy audit, the auditor will examine the debtor’s financial records and compare them to the information provided in the bankruptcy petition. It may involve reviewing bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, and other financial documents. The auditor may also request additional information or clarification from the debtor if necessary.

Outcomes of a Bankruptcy Audit

Once the auditor completes the bankruptcy audit, it will submit a report to the United States Trustee. The report will detail any discrepancies, inaccuracies, or potential fraud identified during the audit. Depending on the findings, the Trustee may take several actions, such as:

  1. Requesting additional information or documentation from the debtor
  2. Referring the case to the United States Attorney for potential criminal prosecution
  3. Objecting to the debtor’s discharge of debts or exemptions
  4. Dismissing the bankruptcy case if the debtor is found to have committed fraud or is otherwise ineligible for bankruptcy relief

Consequences of Fraud in a Bankruptcy Audit

If a debtor is found to have committed fraud during the bankruptcy process, they may face severe consequences. This can include criminal charges, fines, and the denial of a discharge of their debts. In some cases, a debtor who has committed fraud may also be required to repay any debts that were fraudulently discharged in the bankruptcy process.

How to Prepare for a Bankruptcy Audit

While the prospect of a bankruptcy audit may be intimidating, there are steps you can take to prepare and increase your chances of a successful outcome:

  1. Be honest and accurate when completing your bankruptcy petition and schedules.
  2. Keep detailed and organized financial records, including bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs.
  3. Cooperate fully with the auditor, providing any requested information or clarification promptly.
  4. Consider working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can guide you through the process and help ensure your documentation is accurate and complete.

Conclusion

A bankruptcy audit is an essential part of the bankruptcy process to maintain the system’s integrity and deter fraud. By understanding the purpose and function of a bankruptcy audit and the potential consequences of fraud, you can better prepare yourself for this aspect of the bankruptcy journey. Remember, honesty, organization, and cooperation are crucial to navigating a bankruptcy audit successfully.

FAQs

1. What is a bankruptcy audit?

A bankruptcy audit reviews the financial information a debtor provides during the bankruptcy process to ensure accuracy and truthfulness and detect any discrepancies or potential fraud.

2. How are cases selected for a bankruptcy audit?

Cases are randomly selected for audit by the United States Trustee Program, which is part of the Department of Justice. The selection process is designed to maintain the integrity of the bankruptcy system and deter fraud.

3. Who conducts a bankruptcy audit?

An independent, certified public accountant or bankruptcy audit firm is usually hired to perform the bankruptcy audit. They are responsible for reviewing the debtor’s financial records and verifying the accuracy of the information provided in the bankruptcy petition.

4. What are the potential consequences of fraud in a bankruptcy audit?

Consequences of fraud in a bankruptcy audit can include:

  • Criminal charges.
  • Fines.
  • Denial of discharge of debts.
  • Repayment of fraudulently discharged debts.

5. How can I prepare for a bankruptcy audit?

To prepare for a bankruptcy audit, be honest and accurate in your bankruptcy petition, keep detailed and organized financial records, cooperate fully with the auditor, and consider working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Robert Stiberman is a bankruptcy attorney with extensive experience in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. He has represented numerous clients in bankruptcy cases and can offer advice in a bankruptcy audit. With his knowledge and expertise, Robert Stiberman can provide his clients with the guidance and representation they need to navigate bankruptcy successfully.

Written By:

Attorney Robert Stiberman

Robert is an experienced bankruptcy attorney adept at handling Chapter 7, 13, and 11 filings, with more than 15 years of experience in bankruptcy cases. Robert represents clients in both consumer and business bankruptcy ... Read More

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