Dishonest participation in the civil bankruptcy system undermines its central aims—debtor relief and equitable redistribution. The bankruptcy fraud statute, 18 USC § 152, protects against this form of behavior. Unlike other criminal statutes, however, its importance lies less with deterring the acts that it proscribes and more with enforcing civil bankruptcy procedures. This difference creates a unique interpretive problem. Should judges rely on the statute’s criminal nature or its role in the larger civil bankruptcy scheme?
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