Failure to List Assets Also Results in Denial of Discharge

The following is a summary of a Minnesota bankruptcy case or a case relevant to Minnesota bankruptcy law.

Minnesota Bankruptcy Case:

Sullivan v. Bieniek (In re Bieniek), 417 B.R. 133 (Bankr. D. Minn. 10/9/09) (O’Brien, J.).

Case Summary:

Failure to List Assets Also Results in Denial of Discharge

The trustee, Sullivan, objected to the Bienieks’ general discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a). The Bienieks had omitted a number of assets from their schedules, including a motorcycle and a resort timeshare. A third party alerted the trustee to information about the Bienieks. The trustee reconvened the meeting of creditors and discovered the omitted assets. Although the Bienieks provided excuses for failing to include the assets, the court rejected their “tragedy of errors” explanation and found for the trustee.

Denial of their discharge was warranted under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2)(A) because the debtors attempted to conceal assets and failed to disclose assets on their schedules or to their bankruptcy attorney. The court found that Ms. Bieniek, as a manager of underwriters at Wells Fargo, had “the professional experience and acumen to know that complete and honest content in the petition and schedules is absolutely and strictly important, essential and required.” In addition, under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(4)(A), the court found that the debtors had made false oaths by omitting significant assets. The court found that even if the debtors had not acted intentionally, their recklessness would amount to the level of malfeasance supporting a denial of discharge under §727. The court therefore denied the Bienieks their discharge.

Credit: The preceding was a summary of a case relevant to Minnesota bankruptcy law. The case summary was prepared by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court through Judge Robert J. Kressel & attorney Faye Knowles.

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