There's a big difference between preparing for bankruptcy and fraudulent activity prior to filing bankruptcy. Preparing for bankruptcy may entail waiting until the appropriate time to file, spending down certain funds that could possibly be liquidated, or generally deciding through cooperation with your attorney when the best time for filing is. On the other hand, if you engage in fraudulent activity prior to filing, it could delay or inhibit the success of your bankruptcy. The key is knowing examples of activities that constitute fraud.
Most people who engage in what, if the case were filed, the bankruptcy court would deem fraudulent activities don't realize it. Certain financial decisions that seem routine in every day life could potentially derail your case. For instance, if you owe family members or friends a significant amount of money and subsequently pay them back prior to filing the bankruptcy, it could actually be deemed a preference payment to an insider creditor, and the bankruptcy trustee could sue them to recover the funds. You can see how a relatively harmless transaction might undermine the success of your case.
Also, if you transfer your name off certain property, like a bank account, it could hurt your case if done prior to filing. It is much better to list that you're on a bank account with someone and that you don't have access to the funds rather than show that you transferred your name off the account. The same goes for real estate. If you transfer your interest in real estate, it will be highly detrimental to your case. It is a question that is asked at nearly every 341 hearing, and the trustee will certainly take issues with it.
The solution for all of this is to have a full disclosure of your situation with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney, and to ensure that you follow all of their advice. If you want to engage in a financial transaction while you are preparing for bankruptcy, check with your bankruptcy lawyer first to ensure that it is not going to be detrimental to your case.