Farris, 49, the former owner of Farris Gallery in St. Louis, was sentenced Friday to 14 months in prison for failure to appear. It ended an ordeal that began in July 2004, when he first pleaded guilty to fraud.
He admitted in the plea that in 2002, he transferred ownership of an oil painting to someone else so that person could auction the painting at Christie’s in New York.
The goal was to conceal proceeds of the sale from his bankruptcy case. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution.
While out on bond, the bankruptcy debtor fled the country and remained on the run for five years. It’s really is unfortunate that this debtor not only attempted to defraud the bankruptcy process but that he wasted five years of his life trying to escape a prison sentence that was less than 2 years. Some bankruptcy debtors make the mistake of thinking that 1) it’s necessary to engage in fraud during their bankruptcy case, 2) that if they engage in bankruptcy fraud they can actually get away with it and 3) that if they get caught they will be lucky enough to avoid a prison sentence.
The truth is that it is unnecessary to commit bankruptcy fraud. The bankruptcy system provides ample opportunities to protect assets and get a fresh financial start. Also, it has become easier for authorities to discover and harshly punish bankruptcy fraud. It’s simply not worth it, so don’t do it. Instead work with a professional and experienced bankruptcy attorney to protect your assets.