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General Laws

Section 19. At any time pending the examination of the defendant or debtor, the plaintiff or creditor or a person in his behalf may allege charges, to wit:

First, That, since the debt was contracted or the cause of action accrued, the defendant or debtor has fraudulently conveyed, concealed or otherwise disposed of the whole or a part of his or its property, with intent to secure it to his or its own use or to defraud his or its creditors; or

Second, That, since the debt was contracted or the cause of action accrued, the defendant or debtor has hazarded his or its money or other property to the value of one hundred dollars or more in some kind of gaming prohibited by the laws of this commonwealth; or

Third, That, if the action was founded on contract, the defendant or debtor contracted the debt with intent not to pay it.

Such charges shall be in writing, subscribed and sworn to by the plaintiff or creditor or by a person in his behalf, and shall be considered in the nature of an action at law, to which the defendant or debtor may plead that he or it is guilty or not guilty, and the court may thereupon hear and determine the same. The plaintiff or creditor shall not upon the hearing give evidence of a charge which is not made or filed as herein provided, nor of a fraudulent act of the defendant or debtor which was committed more than three years before the commencement of the original action.

If the court finds that the defendant or debtor, if a natural person, is guilty of the charges so alleged, he shall be sentenced to imprisonment in the common jail for not more than one year, and if the defendant or debtor is a corporation or trust with transferable shares and found guilty of the charges so alleged, it shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars; and the proceedings for the examination of the defendant or debtor as to his or its property or ability to pay may be continued by the court to enable the defendant or debtor to appear.

A party aggrieved by a judgment rendered under this section may appeal therefrom to the superior court. If the plaintiff or creditor appeals, he shall before allowance thereof recognize with sufficient sureties to enter and prosecute his appeal, to file therewith a copy of all the proceedings on said charges, and to pay all costs if judgment is not reversed. If the defendant or debtor appeals, he or it shall recognize in like manner, and with the further condition that if final judgment is against him, if a natural person, he will, within thirty days thereafter, surrender himself to be taken on execution and abide the order of the court, or, if a corporation or trust with transferable shares, it will, within like time, pay the fine previously ordered, or pay to the plaintiff or creditor the amount due him upon the claim or execution as the case may be. In the superior court trial shall be by a jury or, with the consent of both parties, by the court.

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