The United States Trustee is an officer of the Justice Department whose job it is "to promote integrity and efficiency in the Federal bankruptcy system". The United States trustee's responsibilities include: 1) monitoring the conduct of private estate trustees and the conduct of all the parties in the bankruptcy process; 2) managing related expenses of the bankruptcy administrative functions; 3) making sure the parties involved in the bankruptcy are complying with the applicable bankruptcy laws and procedures; 4) investigating and identifying abuse with the help of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the U.S. Attorney's Office. The United States Trustee will accomplish all of these tasks by supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases filed under United States Federal Bankruptcy Code.
The United States Trustee Program was established by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 (11 U.S.C. § 101, et seq.) and expanded nationwide to include all the U.S. Federal judicial districts with the exception of North Carolina and Alabama.
Specific Responsibilities of the United States Trustee include:
- Preventing abuse and fraud. If either of these occurs the United States Trustee is responsible for taking legal action to enforce the United States Bankruptcy Code requirements.
- Referring issues for a criminal investigation if appropriate.
- Appointing and supervising private trustees who are managing Chapter 7, Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases.
- Serving as a trustee if a private trustee does not or can not serve.
- Making sure that the bankruptcy case and estate are managed efficiently and all legal and professional fees are reasonable.
- Arguing bankruptcy matters in bankruptcy court which relate to the Bankruptcy Code.
- Convening Chapter 11 Bankruptcy creditors' committee meetings
- Reviewing application for hiring professionals and disclosure statements.
FOOTNOTE REFERENCES 1. House Report No. 989, 95th Cong., 2d Sess. at 88 (reprinted in 1978 U.S. Code Congressional & Admin. News at 5787, 5963, 6049). 2. See United States Trustee Program Mission Statement. 3. Visit the on-line U.S. Trustee Program Reference Library to locate private bankruptcy trustees