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SETTLINGG OR DISMISSING FEDERAL RESTITUTION

Richmond, VA |

I went bankrupt for a house that was under water, and debt was relieved by bankruptcy. Concurrently I has targeted in a federal criminal case in which my attorney recommended I plead guilty. The debt owed to victim ( bank) was discharged with bankruptcy, but now its now part of the judgment order and restitution is required. I have been on Supervised Release with no problems and now for nearly 3 yrs. and time is almost up. I have been paying as agreed, but want to contact the bank (victim) and see about working out settlement or getting debt discharged ( again??? ). Court order does not prevent victim contact. Suggestions and likelihood of success???. Criminal order supersedes that of BK protection and debt relieved? ...as BK discharged prior to date of criminal order???

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Your question is well stated and complex. Many other factors will need to be considered in devising a presentation strategy. Have you discuss this with your MSR advisor? Was the criminal court sentencing judge made aware of the bankruptcy? Did the plea agreement speak to the coordination or priority of the discharge in bankruptcy? What happened to the house, that is what was the actual lose to the bank, if any?
    Please consider consulting an experienced lawyer to guide you. Your success to date may be jeopardized by a misinterpretation of your actions as an attempt to circumvent and avoid the sentencing court's order of restitution.

    Please do NOT use this answer/response to say or do anything regarding your situation. This answer/response is based on the information provided in the question asked and requires a much more complete context than is available in this public forum. BEFORE you say or do anything consult with an experienced Federal and/or state criminal defense attorney in your jurisdiction who will listen to you and your concerns.


  2. Restitution is not dischargable in bankruptcy.
    If you are under order not to make contact, you cannot do so. You should work through an attorney who can contact the prosecutor's collection section and work out a deal.


  3. The criminal judgment ordering restitution is not affected by the prior bankruptcy. To work out a settlement with the bank would require the agreement of three actors: you, the bank, and the government. If an agreement is reached, you and the government will jointly ask the court to amend its restitution order allowing your discharge.

    I suggest that you contact experienced white collar criminal counsel to explore the possibility of working out a settlement.

    This response is for informational purposes only. It does not create a legal engagement between questioner and answerer nor does it create an attorney client relationship. The questioner should retain an attorney for legal advice.


  4. You cannot discharge a Federal District Court Order through bankruptcy. You cannot modify the Court's Order by working out a settlement with the bank. Judgements in United States District Court criminal matters become final 15 days after the judgement is entered. Unless a party files a notice of appeal, in a timely manner, the judgement is final and cannot be modified.

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