Over the years I have routinely blogged about celebrity bankruptcies in order to highlight the cautionary tale each case presents. Let’s catch up with several of those we have followed in past years and see where they are now.
Teresa Guidice’s bankruptcy is back in the news as the bankruptcy judge in her previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy has reopened her case over Mrs. Guidice’s objection. Teresa claims she is already doing a good enough job repaying her creditors from the Chapter 7 that was dismissed. She has a repayment plan in place with the IRS for the $500K tax lien upon her property and is currently paying back 27 of the 29 creditors originally listed in her bankruptcy petition. But her bankruptcy judge says that is not good enough as there may be additional proceeds available to her creditors resulting from her lawsuit against her attorney. One of the creditors she has not proposed to pay back is an infertility clinic.
Abby Lee Miller
Abby Lee Miller filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010 but was indicted for failing to disclose income from the reality show in her bankruptcy schedules to the tune of over $700K. Ms. Miller has now pled guilty to not only bankruptcy fraud but also to smuggling $10K of Australian money back into the United States and not declaring same. By working out a plea deal with federal prosecutors, Ms. Miller hopes to reduce her sentence for the crimes to six months. Her sentencing on the bankruptcy fraud conviction is scheduled for October, 2016.
Curtis Jackson III aka 50 Cent
After a jury in New York City found 50 Cent, aka Curtis Jackson III, liable to the tune of $5 million dollars for his involvement in the dissemination of a sex tape, the rapper filed for protection under Chapter 11 in Connecticut. “Fiddy” was sued by Lastonia Leviston for the infliction of emotional distress for his role in providing a crude commentary soundtrack for the sex tape at issue which featured Ms. Leviston. As if that were not enough, Mr. Jackson then allowed himself to be photographed with piles of money spelling out the word “Broke”. As my fellow Bond & Botes attorney, Cynthia Lawson, explained, “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. “ When hauled back in to bankruptcy court to explain these photos, Mr. Jackson’s explanation was that the money was fake and, not to be cowed by the bankruptcy court, Mr. Jackson posted another photo later that day with money hanging out of his pant waistband. Despite his questionable judgment, Mr. Jackson along with his bankruptcy attorneys have put forward a repayment plan for his creditors that has been approved by his bankruptcy judge. Mr. Jackson will be repaying his creditors $23 million dollars over five years.
I have stated in previous blogs how critically important it is to disclose all required information in a bankruptcy petition. One way to insure this occurs is to hire an attorney who focuses primarily in bankruptcy law. You can find quality bankruptcy attorneys in your area through avvo.com and NACBA, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. Second, always follow the golden rule in bankruptcy – tell the truth and do not leave anything out! If you are considering a filing for bankruptcy relief but are concerned about what the rules require and how they may affect you, please contact one of our locations nearest you in Alabama, Mississippi or Tennessee for a free, confidential consultation with one of our experienced, licensed attorneys.
Carla M. Handy is the Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Gadsden and Anniston, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law. She has been helping families navigate consumer bankruptcy cases since 1994.Read her full bio here.