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Should Casey Anthony Be Denied A Discharge in Bankruptcy?

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Casey Anthony, Bankruptcy Fraud?Famed child murder acquitee Casey Anthony has filed for bankruptcy in Tampa, Florida. Ms. Anthony's bankruptcy filing appears to list fairly minimal and routine assets and liabilities, such as:

Cash on hand: $474

Furniture and laptop: $200

Jewelry: $200

Woman's clothing and accessories: $100

In the category for "Patents, copyrights, and other intellectual property" she marks "none". She also lists "none" for any income received in the last three years.These answers may very well cause her to lose her discharge.

Under the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor will not receive a discharge if the debtor knowingly and fraudulently, in or in connection with the case made a false oath or account. Most bankruptcy courts agree that a debtor's reckless act of failing to disclose a valuable asset is also grounds for denial of a discharge in bankruptcy.

Shortly after the sensational verdict acquitting her of killing her baby daughter Caylee, the Internet burned with a debate over whether Ms. Anthony could sell her story for millions of dollars. Many believed that the public would not pay to hear what they thought would be the lies of a wrongly freed child killer. Others felt that the public's lurid interest would be irresistible to publishers of tabloids and tell-alls, or reality show producers.

Whether a court believes that Casey Anthony can exploit her fame for millions is not relevant for bankruptcy discharge purposes: certainly she can sell her story for something. Her Statement of Financial Affairs, also filed with the bankruptcy court under penalty of perjury, insists that she has made nothing so far from the intense media interest in her story, and that may also be untrue. Either way, her sworn bankruptcy papers ignore the value to her creditors from a possible book deal, and this is certainly her most valuable asset. For that glaring omission alone, Casey Anthony should be denied a Chapter 7 discharge. 

Click here for a complete copy of Casey Anthony's bankruptcy schedules.

Category: Bankruptcy

3 Comments to "Should Casey Anthony Be Denied A Discharge in Bankruptcy?"

This is an interesting topic. First, I agree with your legal answer that If she has received a third party offer for her story, then she must disclose it on her schedules or face denial of discharge under 707 or 727. But the more difficult issues arise from the fact that she is both famous and disreputable. On one hand, her fame leads us to believe she might have more assets or income than she discloses. On the other hand, her poor reputation may tempt us to hope the legal process is applied to her with a greater degree of scrutiny than the average debtor. From looking at the schedules, other less weighty questions arise as well, such as "Is her phone really worth $25?" It seems someone would pay more for it than that on ebay. Also, did her attorney do this case pro bono? If so, why?
Posted by Drew Lyman on February 3, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Frances, thanks for your comment. The fact that she owes Jose Baez $500,000 would disqualify her from Chapter 13 (debt limit is $360,475). People have incredible animosity toward her, but I don't think that would prevent her from selling a book that would help her creditors. I'm wondering what the trustee will do with that information.

Ron Drescher
Posted by Ronald Drescher on January 28, 2013 at 07:56 PM
If she really signed a book deal, she is in big trouble. Chapter 7 Trustee is going to ask for that money for sure. Anyway she can still amend her schedules and go for an a 100% chapter 13. That will protect her from fraud. On the other hand the book that Jose Baez her lawyer wrote: Presumed Guilty, although he said that she won't get benefit from this book. She authorized him to write at no cost or was it a deal to pay her ($500,000) legal services? If this is a yes, then why include the debt in the schedules? hmm...
Posted by Frances Caraballo on January 28, 2013 at 02:43 PM

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