Law Offices of David A. Tilem

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Keeping Debtors Honest During Bankruptcy

The trade off for the "fresh start" you get by filing bankruptcy is that you have to let your creditors know you're seeking bankruptcy relief and may be wiping out your obligation to pay them. Consequently, bankruptcy cases are public record and creditors who have information about debtors are able to present that information to the Bankruptcy Court. This forces debtors to be honest about their circumstances.

The most recent example of a creditor keeping a debtor honest can be found in the bankruptcy filing of 50 Cent (aka Curtis James Jackson, III). 50 Cent is a well-known hip-hop artist who filed bankruptcy in July 2015 in part because he lost a legal battle with Lastonia Leviston that resulted in a judgment against him for roughly $7 million.

Ms. Leviston has apparently been following 50 Cent's Instagram account since his bankruptcy filing and noticed photos posted to the account showing 50 Cent with piles of $100 bills in his refrigerator, on his bed, and even using the money to spell the word "BROKE." This didn't appear to jive with the information 50 Cent filed regarding the state of his income or assets and she let the Court know.

This has culminated in Judge Ann Nevins setting a hearing for March 9, 2016 and demanding an explanation from 50 Cent as to why he is hiding assets. 50 Cent filed a statement in advance of the hearing stating that the cash in the photos are fake and that the photos reflecting his supposed wealth are all in furtherance of promoting his brand. If Judge Nevins does not find the explanation adequate, she could appoint an examiner to look into the reality of 50 Cent's wealth (or lack thereof). 


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