A bankruptcy Art dealer who plead guilty to 1 count of bankruptcy fraud was apprehended after 5 years on the run. His crime involved transferring ownership of an oil painting to another person to sell and conceal the sale proceeds. First he failed to report to jail in 2004. Then he fled abroad while the U.S. Marshals were tracking him through 14 countries including China. Ultimately he was arrested in Rome in 2009. Released on house arrest he fled Italy to Mexico and was deported back to the United States (Consumer Bankruptcy News August 18, 2011, v 21, iss18).

It’s important to note how diligent the U.S. Marshals were in apprehending him. Bankruptcy fraud is a federal offense and taken very seriously by law enforcement. People filing bankruptcy often think they can get away with transferring assets on the eve of Bankruptcy. People often ask can they transfer their house to their son or daughter or give away assets and then file bankruptcy. The obvious answer is no and taking such action can make a difficult situation much worse and turn a civil action into a criminal one. So for those contemplating bankruptcy, the advice is not to transfer any assets. Leave things the way they are and get competent legal advice. Do no turn a civil matter into a criminal one.