Posted on Jan 27, 2013

The Los Angeles Times reported today that Casey Anthony filed for bankruptcy last Friday, listing $1,084 in assets and over $792,119 in debt.  Ironically enough, it was filed  the same day an appellate court threw out two of Anthony's four misdemeanor convictions.  But the question becomes, will the bankruptcy ultimately help her?  I don't think so.

It's All in What She Owes

According to the story, the largest specified debt was for $500,000 to her attorney, but she also has the following debts:

  • $145,660 to the Orange County Sheriff's Office for investigative fees
  • $61,505 in court costs to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and
  • more than $68,000 in taxes and penalties to the Internal Revenue Service

If the money owed to the Orange County Sheriff, and the court costs, are part of her criminal sentence, she may well not be able to discharge them, as fines and restitution are not dischargeable.  Then the IRS tax bill may well not be dischargeable unless it meets with the requirements of bankruptcy law.

But Wait, There's More!

As if that were not enough, there are the pending lawsuits:

  • Two defamation suits from Roy Kronk and Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez
  • two lawsuits for "unjust enrichment," including for a Texas horseback search group that accused Anthony of lying to them about her daughter still being alive; and
  • the state of Florida, seeking to recoup investigative costs.

If the acts of defamation are found by the court to be  "willful and malicious," then that may not get discharged.  The same is true for the State of Florida on the investigative costs because of the charge of lying to them.  It was either "willful and malicious" or the result of fraud (the lies).  The "unjust enrichment" damages could also still be owed due to the fraud component.

Bankruptcy Doesn't Always Fix Everything

The point here is that bankruptcy doesn't fix everything.  Her lawyer may go unpaid for half a million dollars, but the $275,000 in liquidated debt listed above may stick around, along with any damages that could be assessed if she loses the law suits.  Sometimes bankruptcy just can't give you a fresh start.

Check out our other news articles on interesting legal developments in New Jersey, as well as a wealth of information on bankruptcy, DWI, foreclosure, and traffic court. Should you have further questions or need additional information, please contact me to schedule an appointment.

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.

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