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JUNE 26, 1959.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed

Mr. FORRESTER, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following

REPORT

[To accompany H.R. 6816]

The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 6816) to amend section 57a of the Bankruptcy Act (11 U.S.C. 93(a)) and section 152, title 18, United States Code, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

GENERAL STATEMENT

The Bankruptcy Act now requires that a proof of claim must be sworn to before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the Bankruptcy Act. Normally, this means that a creditor has to verify his claim under oath before a notary public or other official. Frequently, this may entail inconvenience and some expense, especially where the claim is a small one and the creditor is not an experienced commercial claimant.

Section 1 of this bill would relieve creditors of these burdens by eliminating the requirement that a proof of claim must be made "under oath."

However, there is no intention to remove the sanction of the criminal law which is now imposed on anyone who presents a false proof of claim. At present, section 152 of title 18, United States Code, subjects to criminal penalty anyone who "knowingly and fraudulently presents under oath any false claim of proof against the estate of a bankrupt ***" [Emphasis supplied.] In order to conform the criminal law to the elimination of the oath in section 1 of this bill, section 2 would eliminate the language "under oath" from the criminal statute, with the result that a creditor will be subject to prosecution for knowingly and fraudulently presenting a false claim even though not under oath.

This bill embodies the recommendations of the Judicial Conference of the United States. A letter from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts requesting the introduction of this bill and explaining it is appended hereto.

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE U.S. COURTS,
Washington, D.C., April 23, 1959.

Hon. SAM RAYBURN,

Speaker, House of Representatives,
Washington, D.Č.

DEAR MR. SPEAKER: There is transmitted herewith, on behalf of the Judicial Conference of the United States, a bill to amend section 57a of the Bankruptcy Act (11 U.S.C. 93(a)) and section 152, title 18, United States Code.

An explanation of the proposed bill is attached. Representatives of this office will be glad to appear before the committee and to provide any further information which may be desired concerning the bill. Respectfully,

WARREN OLNEY III, Director.

EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED BILL TO AMEND SECTION 578 OF
THE BANKRUPTCY ACT AND SECTION 152, TITLE 18, UNITED
STATES CODE, SO AS TO ELIMINATE REQUIREMENT THAT
CLAIMS BE FILED UNDER OATH

Section 57a now provides that a proof of claim shall consist of a statement under oath, in writing and signed by a creditor, setting forth the claim; consideration therefor; whether any and, if so, what securities are held therefor; and whether any and, if so, what payments have been made thereon; and that the claim is justly owing from the bankrupt to the creditor.

As a statement under oath, the proof of claim must be sworn to before an officer authorized to administer oaths under section 20a of the Bankruptcy Act (11 U.S.C. 43a). That section provides that oaths may be administered by (1) referees; (2) officers authorized to administer oaths in proceedings before the courts of the United States, or under the laws of the State where the same are to be taken, and (3) diplomatic or consular officers of the United States in any foreign country.

It is inconvenient for creditors to take a formal oath as to the correctness of the amount claimed and often some expense is incurred. The proposed amendment would relieve the creditors of such burdens.

Section 1 of the proposed bill eliminates the requirement that a proof of claim be made "under oath," by striking such words from section 57a of the Bankruptcy Act (11 U.S.C. 93(a)).

The presenting of a false claim under oath against a bankrupt's estate is a crime under section 152, title 18, United States Code. Section 2 of the proposed bill would

strike the words "under oath" from paragraph 3 of section 152. This would make the filing of a false claim in such a proceeding a crime and thus conform section 152 with the change made in section 57a of the Bankruptcy Act by section 1 of the bill.

The Judicial Conference of the United States at its meeting in March 1959, upon the recommendation of its Committee on Bankruptcy Administration, approved this measure.

CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

In compliance with clause 3 of rule XIII of the House of Representatives, there is printed below in roman existing law in which no change is proposed, with matter proposed to be stricken out enclosed in black brackets, and new matter proposed to be added shown in italic:

SECTION 57aа OF THE BANKRUPTCY ACT

a. A proof of claim shall consist of a statement [under oath], in writing and signed by a creditor, setting forth the claim; the consideration therefor; whether any and, if so, what securities are held therefor; and whether any and, if so, what payments have been made thereon; and that the claim is justly owing from the bankrupt to the creditor.

SECTION 152, TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE

(3) Whoever knowingly and fraudulently presents [under oath] any false claim for proof against the estate of a bankrupt, or uses any such claim in any bankruptcy proceeding, personally, or by agent, proxy, or attorney, or as agent, proxy, or attorney; or

*

Shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

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JUNE 26, 1959.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed

Mr. FORRESTER, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following

REPORT

[To accompany H.R. 7233]

The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 7233) to amend section 632 of the Bankruptcy Act (11 U.S.C. 1032) by inserting the word "first" before "meeting" and by adding a new section 644 so as to require claims to be filed and to limit the time within which claims may be filed in chapter XIII proceedings (wage earners' plans), having considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill do pass. The amendments are as follows:

1. Strike out the language on page 1, lines 5, 6, and 7 and insert in lieu thereof:

SEC. 632. Within ten days after the petition is filed the court shall give notice by mail to the debtor, the creditors, and other parties in interest of a first meeting of creditors to be held not less than ten days, nor more than thirty days, after the date of the mailing of such notice. If such meeting should not be held as a result of a vacancy in the office of the referee, or the absence, disqualification or incapacity of the referee, the court shall fix the date as soon as possible thereafter, when it shall be held.

2. The title is amended so as to read:

A bill to amend sections 632 and 644 of the Bankruptcy Act.

JUDICIAL RECOMMENDATION

This bill was introduced at the request of the Judicial Conference and embodies its recommendations. A letter from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts transmitting this proposal is appended hereto.

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