Bankruptcy 11 USC 548 Voidable Transactions And Fraudulent Transfers

 

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VOIDABLE TRANSACTIONS & FRAUDULENT TRANSFERS

 

Bankruptcy Code § 548 (11 USC § 548)

Fraudulent Transfers And Obligations

 

JayNote: Section 548 largely sets out the substantive law of fraudulent transfers in bankruptcy, while § 550 sets out the defenses of the transferee and some limitations upon fraudulent transfer actions in bankruptcy.

 

It is very important to know that in bankruptcy the primary tool for dealing with a debtor's late transfers are the provisions dealing with preferential transfers, in contrast to state law where the primary tool is the UFTA/UVTA and many states do not even have preferential transfer laws. There is an academic question as to whether the U.S. Bankruptcy Code should even have its own fraudulent transfer laws, since state fraudulent transfer laws are almost always used by bankruptcy trustees and creditors anyway. As Prof. Ken Kettering, Reporter for the UVTA, has remarked: "Since the primary weapon in bankruptcy is preferential transfer law, and much better developed state fraudulent transfer law is also available, the bankruptcy code's fraudulent transfer provisions are simply a luxury, akin to leather bucket seats."

 

(a)

(1) The trustee may avoid any transfer (including any transfer to or for the benefit of an insider under an employment contract) of an interest of the debtor in property, or any obligation (including any obligation to or for the benefit of an insider under an employment contract) incurred by the debtor, that was made or incurred on or within 2 years before the date of the filing of the petition, if the debtor voluntarily or involuntarily—

 

JayNote: The limitations period for a fraudulent transfer in bankruptcy is only two years, as opposed to a four year extinguishment period under state voidable transactions law, and which is why state voidable transactions law is often used in lieu of § 548. However, if the debtor makes the (very common) mistake of listing a tax debt to the United States, the effective limitations period may be as long as ten years, per In re Kipnis, 2016 WL 4543772 (Bk.S.D.Fla., 2016).

 

(A) made such transfer or incurred such obligation with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any entity to which the debtor was or became, on or after the date that such transfer was made or such obligation was incurred, indebted; or

 

JayNote: Section 548(a)(1)(A) corresponds to the Intent Test found at UVTA § 4(a)(1).

 

(B)

(i) received less than a reasonably equivalent value in exchange for such transfer or obligation; and

(ii)

(I) was insolvent on the date that such transfer was made or such obligation was incurred, or became insolvent as a result of such transfer or obligation;

 

JayNote: Section 548(a)(1)(B)(ii)(I) corresponds to the Insolvency Test found at UVTA § 5(a).

 

(II) was engaged in business or a transaction, or was about to engage in business or a transaction, for which any property remaining with the debtor was an unreasonably small capital;

 

JayNote: Section 548(a)(1)(B)(ii)(II) corresponds to the Overextending Insolvency Test found at UVTA § 4(a)(2)(i).

 

(III) intended to incur, or believed that the debtor would incur, debts that would be beyond the debtor’s ability to pay as such debts matured; or

 

JayNote: Section 548(a)(1)(B)(ii)(III) corresponds to the Sinking Insolvency Test found at UVTA § 4(a)(2)(ii).

 

(IV) made such transfer to or for the benefit of an insider, or incurred such obligation to or for the benefit of an insider, under an employment contract and not in the ordinary course of business.

 

JayNote: Section 548(a)(1)(B)(ii)(IV) has no analog in the UVTA but is unique to bankruptcy.

 

(2) A transfer of a charitable contribution to a qualified religious or charitable entity or organization shall not be considered to be a transfer covered under paragraph (1)(B) in any case in which—

(A) the amount of that contribution does not exceed 15 percent of the gross annual income of the debtor for the year in which the transfer of the contribution is made; or

(B) the contribution made by a debtor exceeded the percentage amount of gross annual income specified in subparagraph (A), if the transfer was consistent with the practices of the debtor in making charitable contributions.

 

JayNote: Section 548(a)(2) has no analog in the UVTA, although some states (such as Minnesota) have adopted analogous provisions. This subsection is essentially meant to allow a debtor's routine tithing to be protected from avoidance as a fraudulent transfer.

 

(b) The trustee of a partnership debtor may avoid any transfer of an interest of the debtor in property, or any obligation incurred by the debtor, that was made or incurred on or within 2 years before the date of the filing of the petition, to a general partner in the debtor, if the debtor was insolvent on the date such transfer was made or such obligation was incurred, or became insolvent as a result of such transfer or obligation.

 

JayNote: Section 548(b) has no analog in the UVTA, and essentially gives the bankruptcy trustee the power to "clawback" distributions and other transfers made to a general partner (but not a limited partner) within two-years of the filing of the bankruptcy petition.

 

(c) Except to the extent that a transfer or obligation voidable under this section is voidable under section 544, 545, or 547 of this title, a transferee or obligee of such a transfer or obligation that takes for value and in good faith has a lien on or may retain any interest transferred or may enforce any obligation incurred, as the case may be, to the extent that such transferee or obligee gave value to the debtor in exchange for such transfer or obligation.

 

JayNote: Section 548(c) is generally analogous to the so-called Good Faith For Value Defense of UVTA § 8(a) and (d).

 

(d)

(1) For the purposes of this section, a transfer is made when such transfer is so perfected that a bona fide purchaser from the debtor against whom applicable law permits such transfer to be perfected cannot acquire an interest in the property transferred that is superior to the interest in such property of the transferee, but if such transfer is not so perfected before the commencement of the case, such transfer is made immediately before the date of the filing of the petition.

 

JayNote: Section 548(d) is roughly analogous to UVTA § 6.

 

(2) In this section—

(A) “value” means property, or satisfaction or securing of a present or antecedent debt of the debtor, but does not include an unperformed promise to furnish support to the debtor or to a relative of the debtor;

(B) a commodity broker, forward contract merchant, stockbroker, financial institution, financial participant, or securities clearing agency that receives a margin payment, as defined in section 101, 741, or 761 of this title, or settlement payment, as defined in section 101 or 741 of this title, takes for value to the extent of such payment;

(C) a repo participant or financial participant that receives a margin payment, as defined in section 741 or 761 of this title, or settlement payment, as defined in section 741 of this title, in connection with a repurchase agreement, takes for value to the extent of such payment;

(D) a swap participant or financial participant that receives a transfer in connection with a swap agreement takes for value to the extent of such transfer; and

(E) a master netting agreement participant that receives a transfer in connection with a master netting agreement or any individual contract covered thereby takes for value to the extent of such transfer, except that, with respect to a transfer under any individual contract covered thereby, to the extent that such master netting agreement participant otherwise did not take (or is otherwise not deemed to have taken) such transfer for value.

(3) In this section, the term “charitable contribution” means a charitable contribution, as that term is defined in section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, if that contribution—

(A) is made by a natural person; and

(B) consists of—

(i) a financial instrument (as that term is defined in section 731(c)(2)(C) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986); or

(ii) cash.

(4) In this section, the term “qualified religious or charitable entity or organization” means—

(A) an entity described in section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or

(B) an entity or organization described in section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

 

JayNote: Except for the definition of "value", § 548(d)(2) has no analog in the UVTA.

 

(e)

(1) In addition to any transfer that the trustee may otherwise avoid, the trustee may avoid any transfer of an interest of the debtor in property that was made on or within 10 years before the date of the filing of the petition, if—

(A) such transfer was made to a self-settled trust or similar device;

(B) such transfer was by the debtor;

(C) the debtor is a beneficiary of such trust or similar device; and

(D) the debtor made such transfer with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any entity to which the debtor was or became, on or after the date that such transfer was made, indebted.

(2) For the purposes of this subsection, a transfer includes a transfer made in anticipation of any money judgment, settlement, civil penalty, equitable order, or criminal fine incurred by, or which the debtor believed would be incurred by—

(A) any violation of the securities laws (as defined in section 3(a)(47) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78c(a)(47))), any State securities laws, or any regulation or order issued under Federal securities laws or State securities laws; or

(B) fraud, deceit, or manipulation in a fiduciary capacity or in connection with the purchase or sale of any security registered under section 12 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78l and 78o(d)) or under section 6 of the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77f).

 

JayNote: Section 548(e) has no analog in the UVTA, and the case of a debtor utilizing an irrevocable self-settled trust (a/k/a "asset protection trust") is one of the very few occasions where the federal bankruptcy law of fraudulent transfers is preferable to the state UVTA.

 

 

 

BANKRUPTCY FRAUDULENT TRANSFER OPINIONS

 

Exempt Property Transfers

     In re Vorhes, 2018 WL 1577980 (N.D.Iowa, March 29, 2018).

 

Self-Settled Trust or Similar Device

     In re Cyr (Rodriquez v. Cyr), 2019 WL 1495137 (W.D.Tex., April 1, 2019).

Statute of Limitations

     In re Kipnis, 2016 WL 4543772 (Bk.S.D.Fla., 2016).

 

RECENT ARTICLES

 

2020.06.30 ... Attorney Fees Held Awardable Under Nevada Fraudulent Transfer Law In Morgan Stanley Opinion

2020.06.11 ... Bank That Was Financially Involved With Debtor Gets Caught Up In Fraudulent Transfer Case In Wilson

2020.05.21 ... Utah Supreme Court Rejects Mixed Motive Test For Intentional Fraudulent Transfers In Jones Case

2020.01.06 ... Twyne’s Case And The Most Infamous Flock Of Sheep In Anglo-American Law

2019.12.07 ... New York Finally Modernizes Its Fraudulent Transfer Laws By Adopting The Uniform Voidable Transactions Act

2019.10.29 ... Repeal Of Kentucky’s Fraudulent Transfer Law In Favor Of UVTA Causes Headaches In Orchard

2019.10.19 ... Texas Homestead Gets Constitutional Protection From Fraudulent Transfer Claim In Lapides

 

 

Many more articles on voidable transactions law found here

 

UVTA - LOGICAL ORGANIZATION

(Designed For Litigators)

 

Click here to go to the Voidable Transactions Decision Chart

 

Overview of UVTA -- The process and result

 

Learn The Vocabulary Of The Act (Main Page)

 

Has A Voidable Transaction Occurred? (Main Page)

 

Does The Transferee Have A Defense? (Main Page)

 

What Remedies Are Available? (Main Page)

 

Other Helpful Provisions (Main Page)

 

UVTA - NUMERICAL ORGANIZATION

(Confusing & Difficult To Use)

 

The Uniform Law Commission's complete copy of the UVTA with comments in PDF format is available here. The webpage for the UVTA, showing states that have enacted and much other information regarding the Act is found here.

 

1 - Definitions

(1) Affiliate -- (2) Asset -- (3) Claim -- (4) Creditor -- (5) Debt -- (6) Debtor -- (7) Electronic -- (8) Insider -- (9) Lien -- (10) Organization -- (11) Person -- (12) Property -- (13) Record -- (14) Relative -- (15) Sign -- (16) Transfer -- (17) Valid Lien

2 - Insolvency - How insolvency is calculated

3 - Value - Issues relating to calculating value

4 - Transfer Or Obligation Voidable As To Present Or Future Creditor

(a)(1) {Intent Test} - To hinder, delay or defraud any creditor

(a)(2)(i) {Overextending Insolvency Test} - The debtor engages in a transaction for which it does not have the financial strength

(a)(2)(ii) {Sinking Insolvency Test} - The debtor is not technically insolvent but headed for insolvency

(b) {Badges of Fraud} - Circumstances available to prove the debtor's intent

5 - Transfer or Obligation Voidable As To Present Creditor

(a) {Insolvency Test} - The test preferred by creditors

(b) {Insider Preference Test} - Not really a fraudulent transfer test at all

6 - When Transfer Is Made Or Obligation Is Incurred - Determines the time of the transfer

7 - Remedies Of Creditor

      {Non-Money Judgment Remedies} - Avoidance, attachment, etc.

8 - Defenses, Liability, And Protection Of Transferee Or Obligee

{Main Provisions} -The transferee's good faith for-value defense

(b) and (c) {Money Judgment Remedy} - Alternative remedy for creditors when avoidance is not good enough

9 - Extinguishment Of Claim For Relief - Similar to Statutes of Limitation

10 - Governing Law - Conflicts of Laws provisions

11 - Application To Series Organization - Applies to intra-series transfers

12 - Supplementary Provisions - Allows application of other law to issues unresolved by the UVTA

13 - Uniformity Of Application And Construction - Court opinions from other states may be looked to for guidance

14 - Relation To Electronic Signatures In Global And National Commerce - Waste of statutory space

15 - Short Title - From fraudulent transfers to voidable transactions

16 - Repeals; Conforming Amendment - Information for enacting legislatures

 

OTHER SOURCES OF

FRAUDULENT TRANSFER LAW

 

Fraudulent Transfers In Bankruptcy - Main Page

 

28 U.S.C. § 3301, et seq. - Where United States is the creditor

 

Common Law Fraudulent Transfer - Still exists in most states

 

Criminal Statutes -- Jurisdictions that criminalize fraudulent transfers

 

Fraudulent Conveyances Act of 1571 a/k/a Statute of 13 Elizabeth - The medieval statute to which the modern American UVTA traces some of its roots.

 

Statutes Of The U.S. Jurisdictions -- State and Territorial Voidable Transaction and Fraudulent Transfer Laws

 

TOPICAL COURT OPINIONS

 

DEFINITIONS

     Creditor Definition - Court opinions on the definition of creditor

     Debtor Insider Affiliate Relative Organization Person Definitions   - Court opinions on the definitions of debtor, insider, etc.

     Claim And Debt Definitions  - Court opinions on the definitions of claim and debt

     Asset And Property Definitions  - Court opinions on the definitions of assets and property

     Lien And Valid Lien Definitions  - Court opinions on the definitions of lien and valid lien

     Transfer Definition  - Court opinions on the definition of transfer

     Value And Reasonably Equivalent Value (REV) Definition  - Court opinions on the definitions of value and reasonably equivalent value

     Insolvency Definition  - Court opinions on the definition of insolvency

TESTS

     Insolvency Test  - Court opinions relating to the Insolvency Test

     Insider Preference Test  - Court opinions relating to the Insider Preference Test

     Overextending Insolvency Test  - Court opinions relating to the Overextending Insolvency Test

     Sinking Insolvency Test  - Court opinions relating to the Sinking Insolvency Test

     Intent Test  - Court opinions relating to the Intent Test

           Badges Of Fraud  - Court opinions relating to the Badges of Fraud

DEFENSES

     Extinguishment Periods a/k/a (incorrectly) Statute Of Limitations  - Court opinions relating to the extinguishment periods

     Transferee Good Faith  - Court opinions relating to the transferee good faith for-value defense

REMEDIES

     Non-Money Remedies  - Court opinions relating to avoidance and other non-money remedies

     Money Judgment Remedies  - Court opinions relating to money judgments

     Attorney Fees -- Court opinions relating to awards of attorney fees

     Punitive Damages - Court opinions relating to punitive and exemplary damages

OTHER

     Burdens of Proof  - Court opinions relating to the burdens of proof

     Conflict Of Laws  - Court opinions relating to conflict of laws

     Uniformity  - Court opinions relating to uniformity with the laws of other jurisdictions

     Supplementary Law  - Court opinions relating to the interplay of the UVTA with other law

     Jurisdictional Issues - Court opinions relating to jurisdiction of UVTA actions.

BANKRUPTCY

     Section 548  - Court opinions relating to 11 USC 548

 

OTHER RESOURCES

 

 

OTHER INFORMATIONAL WEBSITES

by Jay Adkisson

 

  • Jay Adkisson - More about Jay D. Adkisson, background, books, articles, speaking appearances.

 

  • Captive Insurance - Licensed insurance companies formed by the parent organization to handle the insurance and risk management needs of the business, by the author of the best-selling book on the topic: Adkisson's Captive Insurance Companies.

 

  • Asset Protection - The all-time best-selling book on asset protection planning by Jay Adkisson and Chris Riser.

 

  • Creditor-Debtor - An explanation of common creditor remedies, strategies and tactics to enforce a judgment, including a discussion of common debtor asset protection strategies.

 

  • Private Retirement Plans - An exploration of a unique creditor exemption allowed under California law which can be very beneficial but is often misused.

 

  • Charging Orders - The confusing remedy against a debtor's interest in an LLC or partnership is explained in reference to the Uniform Partnership Act, the Uniform Limited Partnership Act, and the Uniform Limited Liability Company Act.

 

  • Protected Series - An examination of the single most complex statutory legal structure yet created, with particular reference to the Uniform Protected Series Act of 2017.

 

  • California Enforcement of Judgments Law - Considers the topic of judgment enforcement in California, including the California Enforcement of Judgments Law and other laws related to California creditor-debtor issues.

 

  • Anti-SLAPP Laws - A collection of and commentary about Anti-SLAPP laws and significant court decisions on the subject within the United States, and special section on California Anti-SLAPP.

 

 

Voidable Transactions:

Fraudulent Transfers In American Law

 

by Jay D. Adkisson (Available 2021)

 

Click here for more information

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