Seeking a fresh start in life and a discharge from creditors – including the attorney who masterminded her acquittal in the murder of two-year old Caylee Anthony – Casey Anthony filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy late Friday in Tampa.
Claiming $1,100 in assets and over $792,000 in liabilities, the unemployed Anthony has listed unsecured debts that include $500,000 to Jose Baez for attorney fees and costs for her criminal defense during trial; $145,660 to the Orange County Sheriff’s office for a judgment covering investigative fees and costs; $68,540 to the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid taxes, interest and penalties; and $61,505 to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for investigative costs.
Anthony lists about 80 creditors in her 60-page court filing. For the most part, she claims unsecured debt for attorney’s fees, forensics, investigative and consulting services, in addition to medical and psychiatric services.
Other unsecured debts include Anthony’s mother, Cindy, unpaid credit card bills and even a debt for scuba diving services.
It appears that Anthony has included every possible debt to every possible party.
The bankruptcy filing also shows that Anthony is a defendant in several lawsuits, including one brought by Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez for defamation in the Orange County Circuit Court.
Fernandez-Gonzalez claims that her reputation was destroyed when Anthony told detectives that a babysitter with the same name kidnapped Caylee. Later found dead, police were investigating the 2008 disappearance of the two-year old.
Although strikingly similar, Anthony’s attorney has previously stated that details offered by her to police did not match this particular Fernandez-Gonzalez.
A successful bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7 would wipe Casey Anthony’s financial slate totally clean. Although a trustee has the right to take possession of and sell non-exempt property and use the sale proceeds to pay creditors, only $1,100 in assets have been claimed by Anthony.
Unemployed and recently completing probation following her previous felony conviction on check fraud charges, the acquitted alleged murderess has nothing to lose by discharging her debts utilizing federal bankruptcy laws.
Although bankruptcy may appear on her credit report for up to ten years, Casey Anthony will always be compared to O.J. Simpson as an acquitted alleged killer.
Now imprisoned in Nevada on unrelated robbery and kidnapping charges, Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of the 1994 double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman after a lengthy, internationally publicized trial in Los Angeles, California.
The Tampa bankruptcy filing came on the same day that the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed two of Anthony’s four misdemeanor convictions for providing false information to a law enforcement officer during a missing person investigation.
“The Appellate Court disagreed with Judge Perry’s interpretation of the law arguing that providing ‘false information’ is not the same thing as a false statement,” indicated Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Eric Schwartzreich. “If the police are questioning you about a robbery and you state that ‘birds do not fly’ – that is a false statement, not false information. That is the distinction the Fifth District Court of Appeal used to reverse the two misdemeanor ‘lying’ convictions.”
Although Anthony was acquitted of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child, she was found guilty by a Florida jury of lying to police. She was sentenced to one year in jail on each count, to be served consecutively.
Having received substantial credit for time served, Anthony was released days later on July 17, 2011. An appeal by her attorney followed.
“Wiping her debt away through bankruptcy was inevitable ,” said John Contini, a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney and author of several real-life crime dramas including Danger Road and Feeling the Heat. “Although forever in debt to those who helped acquit her of killing young Caylee, without the protection of the federal Bankruptcy court, Casey Anthony would never be truly set free.”