Alex Jones, the popular radio host who deals entirely in conspiracy theories, lost several high-profile personal injury lawsuits and is now facing judgments exceeding $1 billion. To be sure, this puts Jones in a bad position. He has too many liabilities to file under Chapter 13, and he makes too much money to file under Chapter 7. This leaves him with only one option — filing under Chapter 11.
Individuals want to avoid Chapter 11 when possible since it costs more money to file, and the bankruptcy does not terminate after a set period of time. Jones stated in his Chapter 11 filing that he has between $1 billion and $10 billion in liabilities and between $1 million and $10 million in assets.
Jones has used this to leverage his audience into making purchases on his Infowars site. Jones sells dietary supplements and other woo-related items via his conspiracy broadcast. Jones’ creditors claim that he is barred from filing for bankruptcy protection because of his conduct in defrauding the American public by convincing individuals that Sandy Hook and other school shootings were “false flags” created by the liberal media to impose sanctions on gun ownership.
Jones used his pulpit to encourage his fans to threaten, harass, and attack victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. One man claimed that protesters urinated on his son’s grave and threatened to dig up his coffin. The principal of Sandy Hook testified that people mailed rape threats to her home. Jones continues to claim he has no money but forensic accountants have valued his company at $270 million. The company, too, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Can the Families Prevent the Bankruptcy?
It depends on a number of factors. Firstly, it will depend on where the trial took place and the rules of the court. Personal injury judgments filed against individuals are generally dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, any element of fraud can prevent an individual from filing for bankruptcy if the debt was incurred by fraud. In this case, the debt was not incurred by fraud. Jones has not been charged with fraud, and it does not appear that a fraud prosecution would stand. So, the fraud exemption likely would not apply to Jones.
The law prevents the discharge of certain debts in bankruptcy. These rules generally apply to wrongful death lawsuits or personal injury lawsuits caused by drunk drivers. Alternatively, a company may not be able to discharge a debt if there is a finding that the company acted with intentional or willful misconduct. So, it entirely depends on the state in which the judgment was entered and the rules of Texas bankruptcies where the bankruptcy was filed.
To be sure, Texas has excellent bankruptcy protections, but they only apply to those filing under Chapter 7. So Jones may be stuck with this debt until the day he dies. But more likely, he will be required to pay a fraction of what he owes unless the government discovers the assets he has been hiding.
Talk to a Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Attorney Today
Chris Arrington represents the rights of Pennsylvania debtors in bankruptcy filings. Call our office today to discuss your financials in more detail, and we can begin planning for your future immediately.