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
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.