Casey Anthony Files for Bankruptcy

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Exclusive Report by KPHO-TV (CBS) Phoenix Features Attorney Jonathan Frutkin.

Attorney Jonathan Frutkin

According to Casey Anthony, her attorney Jose Baez is her largest creditor and owed $500,000.

Casey Anthony has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, according to an exclusive report by Adam Longo of KPHO-TV Channel 5 in Phoenix, Arizona. Late on Friday, January 25, 2013, shortly after the Florida Court of Appeals reversed two of her four convictions arising from her criminal trial, her petition was filed with the Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa.

The breaking CBS news story featured Arizona legal analyst and attorney Jonathan Frutkin of The Frutkin Law Firm. According to Frutkin, the bankruptcy automatically stops the three pending civil lawsuits against her. This includes a defamation lawsuit filed by Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, the real person with the same name as the fictional nanny Anthony accused of kidnapping her daughter, Caylee. It also includes suits by a Florida volunteer rescuer and a Texas firm which claims it spent more than $100,000 attempting to find Caylee after she was reported missing.

However, the automatic stay does not mean that Anthony is necessarily off scot-free. “Bankruptcy protection is designed to help the unfortunate, but honest debtor,” Frutkin said. “But Anthony will now have the advantage of a single courtroom and a single judge determine her financial liability.”

Arizona attorney Frutkin also pointed out that the legal standard to prevent discharge of a debt in bankruptcy is considerably higher. “The creditors must prove that their damages are the result of fraud or willful and malicious conduct by Ms. Anthony. The standard is much higher than simply proving mere legal liability for some debt,” according to Frutkin.

As with every Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, a bankruptcy trustee will be assigned to investigate Anthony’s assets. According to her bankruptcy filing, she has not received any income in at least three years. Assuming that she receives a discharge of her debt, any income she makes moving forward will be hers to keep.

But to Frutkin, the punch line is that the man responsible for keeping Anthony out of jail may pay the biggest price. “According to Anthony, her attorney Jose Baez is her largest creditor and owed $500,000. That debt will almost certainly be eliminated as part of the bankruptcy,” Frutkin said.

The Casey Anthony bankruptcy case is case #8:13-bk-00922 in the Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. The Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzlaez v. Casey Anthony case is pending in Orange County Circuit Court, Case #2008-VA-024573. Roy Kronk (the volunteer rescuer) v. Casey Anthony case is pending in Orange County Circuit Court, Case #2011-CA-0017051. The TX EquuSearch Mntd Srch & Rcvr v. Casey Anthony case is pending in Orange County Circuit Court, Case #2011-CA-008475.

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