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The U.S. Trustee Program (USTP) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) whose mission includes promoting the integrity and efficiency of the bankruptcy system by enforcing bankruptcy laws. Among its responsibilities is identifying fraud, abuse, and error in personal bankruptcy filings. Currently, precise figures on the prevalence of fraud, abuse, and error in personal bankruptcy filings do not exist. USTP asked the RAND Corporation to assist it in thinking about how to better identify and measure fraud, abuse, and error in personal bankruptcies. RAND looked for lessons learned from other government programs and the private sector in detecting fraud and abuse; processes transferable to USTP; indicators USTP could develop of fraud, abuse, and error; ways to estimate their prevalence; and ways to develop data and knowledge for future identification systems. The authors conclude that a data-enabled case filing system, incorporating lessons from the IRS and GSA as well as the private sector, may be the direction for the future of the bankruptcy court system.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Bankruptcy System

  • Chapter Three

    Identifying Debtor Fraud, Abuse, or Error

  • Chapter Four

    Observations of the Practices of Others in Detecting Fraud

  • Chapter Five

    Research Suggestions

  • Chapter Six

    Other Study Group Suggestions

  • Chapter Seven

    Summary and Conclusions

  • Appendix

    Study Group Members

This research was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice at the request of the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees and was conducted within the auspices of the Safety and Justice Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment.

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