The Federal Bureau of Investigation understandably has a full plate these days, particularly given its top priority–terrorism prevention. But along with its higher-profile law enforcement role, the FBI also has a unit that investigates white-collar crime, including bankruptcy fraud.

Bankruptcy fraud usually goes hand in hand with serious crimes such as mortgage scams, identity theft, money laundering, or public corruption. So everyday Wisconsin consumers who are battling the recession will have no worries in this regard if bankruptcy turns out to be the answer. That is, as long as they completely disclose their assets and liabilities in the bankruptcy court filing.

An experienced, qualified debt consolidation lawyer is a must for assisting you in gathering up all your financial details and completing the court paperwork. You should never hold back any financial data from your attorney. You have a legal responsibility under the bankruptcy laws in Wisconsin to make a full disclosure. Anyone who submits false or incomplete forms could be targeted by the feds–those guys in trench coats flashing badges–on suspicion of bankruptcy fraud.

The FBI recently came out with a list of tips for anyone considering filing for bankruptcy protection. Among the agency’s recommendations include making sure to list all your creditors, even ones that you intend to pay after your lawyer files the bankruptcy documents. Many of your assets can be protected from court seizure as long as they are listed in your court papers. By law, the papers must contain a complete list of your property.

The bureau also reminds debtors to report all of their income–including non-wages such as Social Security benefits, alimony or child support payments, unemployment benefits, or pensions. And if you are self employed, remember to spell out both your personal and business debts, assets, and income.

Compliance is also important because a bankruptcy judge has the authority to throw out a bankruptcy case if the supporting documentation is sketchy, incomplete, or worse.

As a practical matter, whether it involves a high roller or just an ordinary consumer, playing hide-and-seek with any assets or liabilities is a big mistake. A serious bankruptcy crime could land someone in jail for up to five years, along with hefty fines. If you are considering a personal bankruptcy in Milwaukee or anywhere else in the state, be sure to fully cooperate with your attorney in collecting all the financial data necessary to process your case fully and fairly and allow you to go forward with a clean slate. Your lawyer will be by your side at all times to answer any of your Wisconsin bankruptcy questions.