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CA Lawyer
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Experience:  Bankruptcy Attorney
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Back in 1975 I did the backpack through Europe thing. In June

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Back in 1975 I did the backpack through Europe thing. In June of 75 i was in London England and was robbed of my funds. I went to the US Embassy and explained my problem and they issued me a airplane ticket home. They never told me that it was a loan or that I was required to pay the cost of the ticket back. I was planning a trip to Paris France this summer and I needed to get a new passport because mine had expired 20-25 years ago. After submitting my application I get a letter in the mail stating that I owe the State Department almost $5000.00 for the cost of the ticket. Which by the way was only $340.00. It has been close to 34 years and this is the first time I have ever heard from the State Department or anyone concerning this. Is there not a Statue of Limitations on this? Also if I had known about this debt I would have included it in my bankruptcy back in 2006.
What chapter of bankruptcy did you file?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I filed chapter 11 in Oct of 2005 it was converted to a chapter 7 and approved Feb 6 2006
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Oops, Im sorry make that chapter 13 in Oct 2005 and converted to chapter 7
Were any assets or funds distributed in the Chapter 7?

Was the Chapter 13 plan ever confirmed/were any funds disbursed to general unsecured creditors?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No none at all.
In a no asset/no bar date Chapter 7, there is some case law that suggests that unsecured non-priority creditors who are inadvertantly not listed are discharged anyways. However, this varies from circuit to circuit and I don't have any direct authority from your circuit. If it is true in your circuit it would mean that this debt was already wiped out by the bankruptcy.

If that is not true in your circuit, then you could still file an application to reopen the bankruptcy and administer relief to you by adding this omitted creditor. Again, that would allow you to wipe out the debt with the bankruptcy.

In either situation, it would be a good idea to contact your bankruptcy attorney about it. He would be able to tell you which avenue you have to take in your circuit and let you know what fees he would charge to reopen. (The filing fee is $260 to reopen, so maybe $500 for everything would be about average). He may also be able to take care of it just by sending a letter with the information about your bankruptcy.

As far as the statute of limitations, they generally don't apply to the Federal Government unless there is a specific provision in the code. I haven't found any for this type of debt.

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