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Social media, reality and Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Appearances can be deceiving. Someone poses for a picture aboard a large yacht, and many people are led to believe that the yacht actually belongs to that individual. Or someone posts a picture of themselves appearing to be enjoying life at what appears to be a fancy party; the individual is wearing formal attire and what appears to be expensive jewelry. Social media has become a part of everyday life throughout Pennsylvania, and it is now finding its way into Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for the majority of an individual's debts to be discharged. In turn, the individual must relinquish non-exempt assets to the bankruptcy trustee. In an effort to pay down some of the outstanding debt, these items are then sold.

While the majority of petitioners are honest and simply want to be able to start over, there are some who attempt to hide assets from the bankruptcy trustee. When something appears to indicate that this is happening, the trustee will generally investigate the matter.  In an effort to appear more prosperous than they really are, people often post pictures on social media sites that mislead others. Items appearing on these sites have been the catalyst for a number of such investigations.

Many individuals throughout Pennsylvania struggle with too much debt. Whether the debt is the result of medical bills, loss of employment or simply spending too much, the burden it causes can be significant. For some, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the solution to their problem. Consultation with experienced legal counsel is the first step in determining what to do in each particular case.

Source:, "Asset hunters find flashy social media users often bankrupt", Andrea Torres, Dec. 27, 2016

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