It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the rap / hip hop community. First we found out that rapper Kanye West is nearly 53 million dollars in debt and even reached out to Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg for help with his finances. Now comes news that rapper 50 cent, whose real name is Curtis James Jackson, III, is being summoned back to bankruptcy court to explain his recent actions. The Notorious B.I.G. may have written the song “Mo Money, Mo Problems”, but it certainly appears appropriate for Kanye West and now Curtis Jackson, aka 50 cent.
Mr. Jackson filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July of 2015 after a series of very bad personal and business decisions led to several multi-million dollar lawsuits being filed against him. Over the past several weeks; however, Mr. Jackson has compounded his problems by posting several pictures of himself on social media that draw into question whether Mr. Jackson deserves protection under bankruptcy law from his creditors. Several of these pictures depict Mr. Jackson rolling on a bed covered with hundred dollar bills and another is a selfie of him with stacks of hundred dollar bills spelling out the word “broke”.
Honest But Unfortunate Debtor
The reason the bankruptcy judge is summoning Mr. Jackson back to court to answer for these recent pictures of himself is that the fundamental and underlying principle of bankruptcy law is that bankruptcy is for the “honest but unfortunate debtor”. While the vast majority of debtors that file for bankruptcy are the “honest but unfortunate debtor”, the Bankruptcy Court is always on guard for the “dishonest and calculating” debtor. Thus, Mr. Jackson is now being brought back to Court to answer for his latest actions. The Judge is very concerned that Mr. Jackson is not being honest and/or transparent regarding his finances and his assets. In her words, the higher profile the case, the more the need for transparency.
If you find yourself needing to file for bankruptcy, amongst other things, always be honest and transparent with your attorney. All of the attorneys at Bond & Botes are very knowledgeable and very skilled in bankruptcy law; however, they can only properly advise you if they understand your situation. If the Bankruptcy Court finds that you were dishonest and attempted to defraud either the Court or a creditor, the consequences can be dire. All Bankruptcy fraud can be investigated by the FBI. So, in addition to the Bankruptcy Court denying you a discharge of your debts (meaning that you still owe the creditors listed in your bankruptcy), you can be imprisoned for up to five (5) years and fined up to $250,000 per offence.
Cynthia T. Lawson is the Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices location in Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Science from East Tennessee State University, and a Juris Doctorate from University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She currently serves as a Mentor for the Moment in bankruptcy.Read her full bio here.