Social media is all around us now and it’s not just for individuals – nearly every company and organization has a Facebook page, Instagram account, and Twitter feed. It may also come as a surprise to some people that the U.S. government has entered the social media realm. For instance, immigration officials may check a person’s Facebook page or Instagram account to see if that person really is married to the person they are sponsoring for a green card.
And it’s not just the Department of Homeland Security that may be checking your Facebook page. The U.S. Bankruptcy court, its Judges, and its trustees may also log on to look at your photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as one celebrity has just learned the hard way.
Curtis J. Jackson III, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, filed for bankruptcy in July 2015. According to his statements, Mr. Jackson is still a successful rapper but is unable to meet his bills due to the high number of expensive lawsuits that have been filed against him for a variety of reasons. (To read more about Mr. Jackson’s specific case, please visit this CNN Money article).
However, recent photographs have surfaced that show Mr. Jackson posing with stacks of money – including one photo wherein Mr. Jackson arranged multiple bills to spell out the word “BROKE”. Mr. Jackson (or someone close to him) posted these photos on Instagram and they have now been shared multiple times on different social media outlets – and the national news syndicates.
Apparently Mr. Jackson has been posting similar photos since October, with the result that he is now being taken back to bankruptcy court in order for the Judge to determine whether Mr. Jackson has been completely honest about his financial situation during the course of his case. If it is found that he has not, Mr. Jackson could face serious consequences for committing bankruptcy fraud or making false statements during his case.
The Judge stated that he is concerned Mr. Jackson has not been completely transparent with all of his creditors and the court regarding his access to funds because, in addition to the photos of cash Mr. Jackson has posted, he has also posted photos of his large public performances that he was likely compensated for, but which he may not have disclosed properly on his bankruptcy paperwork. Moreover, Mr. Jackson has made statements on social media indicating that he owns property in Africa and may also own a trademark to his stage name. If he does, these may be considered assets that should have been disclosed during on all of the bankruptcy paperwork.
Due to all of these concerns, the Judge is calling Mr. Jackson back to the bankruptcy court in order to review his previous statements and documents. The Judge recently made statements that he is concerned that Mr. Jackson’s public displays may not only inspire a distrust of the bankruptcy process, but could also lead to individuals trying to “game” the bankruptcy system when they do not truly qualify for its benefits. Since transparency is extremely important to the bankruptcy process, not even celebrities can get away with using bankruptcy to discharge their debts unless they truly meet the requirements for a discharge.
As you can see, filing for bankruptcy is not as simple and some websites may lead you to believe. To determine if this course of action is best suited for your case, contact our office today to speak to an experienced attorney about your situation. We look forward to speaking with you!