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Texas bankruptcy crackdown sees woman sentenced to federal prison

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. As encouragement for persistence those words deserve to be taken to heart. But as the case of a Dallas woman indicates, if pushed to the limit within the context of filing for bankruptcy, there could be dire consequences.

In our view, the case serves to reinforce why someone considering seeking the protections afforded by bankruptcy should always consult an experienced attorney beforehand. Doing so has a way of preventing a heap of potential difficulty. In the case at hand, the woman might have avoided being saddled with a criminal record.

The defendant is 54 years old. How she came to be in the circumstances that led her to file for bankruptcy isn't clear from the news report. But she pleaded guilty one year ago to one felony count of perjury in connection with multiple attempts to file for bankruptcy. At a hearing several weeks ago, a judge sentenced her to 12 months and one day in prison.

According to documents, the woman first attempted to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2009. In her first filing she reported facing just over $189,000 in debt, mainly in the form of a mortgage. She also listed more than $74,000 in unsecured debt.

That filing failed and she went on to submit five more petitions between 2009 and 2012. The official record indicates that the bankruptcy judge dismissed each petition because the woman failed to file all the documents required in the specified amount of time.

It seems apparent that this woman did not seek the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Had she, she might have garnered the debt relief she was hoping for and possibly even might have held onto her cherished assets.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Dallas woman who filed for bankruptcy six times in four years given federal prison time," Kevin Krause, July 18, 2014

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