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In re Thiel

United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Eighth Circuit

July 26, 2018

In re: Dennis Michael Thiel, Jr. Debtor
v.
Dennis Michael Thiel, Jr. Defendant-Appellant David G. Velde, Chapter 7 Trustee Plaintiff- Appellee

          Submitted: June 19, 2018

          Appeal from United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota - Fergus Falls

          Before SCHERMER, NAIL, and DOW, Bankruptcy Judges.

          NAIL, BANKRUPTCY JUDGE.

         Dennis Michael Thiel, Jr. ("Debtor") appeals the January 23, 2018 judgment of the bankruptcy court[1] revoking Debtor's discharge. We have jurisdiction over this appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158(b). We affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         Debtor filed a petition for relief under chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code on February 13, 2015. David G. Velde ("Trustee") was appointed trustee.

         On the schedule of personal property he filed with his petition, Debtor indicated he had no "[o]ther liquidated debts owed to debtor[, ] including tax refunds" and no "[o]ther contingent and unliquidated claims of every nature, including tax refunds[.]" (Emphasis added.) Four days later, Debtor filed his 2014 federal and state income tax returns with the appropriate taxing authorities.

         On April 10, 2015, Debtor signed an amended schedule of personal property, on which he listed a 2014 income tax refund of $7, 236.00, [2] and an amended schedule of property claimed as exempt. Debtor did not immediately file either amended schedule.

         One week later, Debtor attended the meeting of creditors, at which Trustee asked him, inter alia, whether he was aware of any mistakes or errors in his schedules. Debtor said he would file an amended schedule of personal property to correct the amount of a social security disability claim that he had previously disclosed and to disclose a wage claim. Debtor also said he would file an amended schedule of property claimed as exempt to claim a portion of the wage claim exempt. Debtor did not mention the income tax refunds. Four days later, Debtor filed the amended schedule of personal property that included the income tax refunds and the amended schedule of property claimed as exempt.

         Debtor received his discharge in due course. Following an unsuccessful attempt to have the bankruptcy court order Debtor to turn over the income tax refunds, [3] Trustee commenced an adversary proceeding under 11 U.S.C. § 727(d)(2) to revoke Debtor's discharge.

         The matter was tried. In its memorandum decision, the bankruptcy court found Debtor knowingly and fraudulently failed to surrender the income tax refunds to Trustee and directed the entry of a judgment revoking Debtor's discharge. Judgment was entered, and Debtor timely appealed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         We review the bankruptcy court's finding that Debtor knowingly and fraudulently failed to surrender the income tax refunds to Trustee for clear error. See Islamov v. ...


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