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United States v. Cluck

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
143 F.3d 174 (1998)


Elwood Cluck (defendant) was a successful attorney who helped his clients legally avoid taxes. Prior to filing for chapter 7 liquidation, Cluck moved some of his assets in anticipation of bankruptcy. Cluck returned a $50,000 note for legal services rendered to a former client, Perfect Union. Cluck pawned four automobiles, an airplane, a boat, and a Winnebago to a used-car dealer for $32,000. The chapter 7 bankruptcy required Cluck to file a schedule of assets and a statement of financial affairs, but he did not mention the property pawned to the car dealer or the accounts receivable in either document. After Cluck’s debts were discharged, he received payment from Perfect Union and another account receivable in the amount of about $150,000. Cluck’s wife’s company also reacquired the assets from the used-car dealer. These transactions were not disclosed to the bankruptcy trustee. The bankruptcy court found that Cluck had committed intentional concealment. Cluck was charged with bankruptcy fraud, convicted, sentenced to imprisonment, and ordered to pay restitution. Cluck appealed on multiple grounds.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Jolly, J.)

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