By now, unfortunately, we’re all used to reading and listening to news about bankruptcy across the U.S.. From major corporations down to the little folk, there’s no scarcity of stories about financial failure. Of course, as both a small business bankruptcy attorney and a consumer bankruptcy specialist in Indiana, I see the up close and personal version of such bankruptcy stories every working day.

As sad as many of these stories are, I couldn’t help chuckling at the following “riddle” I received in an email passed along to me by a friend:

What company has a little more than 600 employees and has the following statistics:

19 have been accused of writing bad checks.
117 have directly or indirectly been involved in the bankruptcies of at least two businesses.
71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit ratings.
21 are defendants in lawsuits.
8 have been arrested for shoplifting.

(I wasn’t really prepared for this answer!) It’s the 615-member British House of Commons, “the same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year to keep the rest of us in line,” adds the writer.

Now, I must say here that, though I have dealt with literally tens of thousands of bankruptcy filings over the past quarter century, almost never have I found the rest of the statistics listed in the email about the House of Commons members to be true of my clients:
7 have been arrested for fraud.
29 have been accused of spouse abuse.
3 have done time for assault.
4 have been arrested on drug-related charges.
84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the past year.

Fact is, most of my Indiana bankruptcy clients, both the individuals filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or the business owners filing Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 cases, have simply been overwhelmed by forces beyond their control. The safety net provided by Indiana bankruptcy law gives these people a chance at a fresh financial start.