Pro-se chapter 7 case . What are penalties for a willfully false statement proven to be made by the Chapter 7 Trustee?

I am a pro-se in a chapter 7 case in New Jersey, Trustee made a willful false statement that , I , debtor was present at the 341 meeting, his own Minutes of Meeting that Trustee himself had filed in court shows and proves that I was not present.This is a high asset case, My non-attendance made a difference in the outcome of the case. My then attorney was present, but not me. What are the penalties for wiilful false statement by the Trustee? What are the penalties on my then attorney , that she was present and not me? Can I sue my attorney for her role and the bad outcome I got? What court will I sue my attorney

Bridgewater, NJ -

Attorney Answers (3)

Anthony Matthew Vassallo

Anthony Matthew Vassallo

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Attorney - Brooklyn, NY

This is a difficult question (or series of questions) to answer for a number of reasons.

First, you do not describe what the outcome was or how the trustee's report damaged you.

Second, you call yourself a "pro se" debtor but you were represented by an attorney at some point -- was that at the beginning or for just the 341 meeting because you were unable to attend?

Unless you were excused from attending, you must physically appear to be examined by the bankruptcy trustee at some point. You have not provided any details regarding why you did not attend or whether you had some sort of agreement with the bankruptcy trustee regarding your non-attendance.

Third, If the trustee reported the wrong fact regarding your attendance and if it is a material mistake, you might have an opportunity to have the Bankruptcy Judge's "decision" reconsidered. Be aware that the level of proof for "willful" is quite high -- a simple mistake will not be sufficient. But all of this is speculation.

Fourth, as for suing your attorney -- you have not provided any detail regarding your agreement as to what the attorney was hired to do and failed to do. I will not speculate what the two of you agreed to or what advice/information your attorney provided or what relief you could seek.

The bottom line is that apparently, you were expecting something else to happen in your case even though you did not appear at the 341 meeting, which is not a requirement you can avoid.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a motion to reconsider whatever the Judge's decision was and perhaps you can even pursue some sort of accommodation with the bankruptcy trustee.

Needless to say, for someone with a "high asset" case, going the pro se route either at the beginning or now has not been fruitful.

Therefore, if you want to salvage this case, find a local bankruptcy attorney to advise you.

Good luck.

Frank John Kokoszka

Frank John Kokoszka

Bankruptcy Attorney - Chicago, IL

Quite frankly, your question is a little confusing. You mentioned that you are pro se but you also want to sue your attorney? As to your claim that the trustee lied about your presence at the 341 meeting, it would seem that that would be easy to prove. Most if not all 341 meeting are recorded and those recordings are kept by the trustee. Why were you not present at the meeting of creditors. If in fact your case is a "high asset case" you need to retain counsel as soon as possible. For example, there may be serious consequences to the fact that you were not present at your meeting of creditors.

Diane L Gruber

Diane L Gruber

Bankruptcy Attorney - West Linn, OR

A "high asset" Ch.7 case usually means that the trustee will take some of your assets. Your attorney should have told you that before you filed.

Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662.... more

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