Charges laid following allegations of misusing funds before bankruptcy

An investigation by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) has resulted in charges being laid against an accountant and two individuals for allegedly concealing and disposing of property before a bankruptcy.

Sean Mauk and Sally Mauk as well as their accountant Charles Roborg-Sondergaard have indicated their intention to plead not guilty to a total of four charges under the Bankruptcy Act 1966, in relation to Mr Mauk’s bankruptcy which commenced in March 2018.

The trio are accused of working together to conceal or transfer funds that should have been available to creditors in Mr Mauk’s bankruptcy estate – comprising more than $500,000 from a deceased estate.

Each of the four charges carry a maximum penalty of 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $63,000.

AFSA Deputy Chief Executive Gavin McCosker highlighted the importance of acting honestly and fairly when facing financial difficulties.

‘Financial hardship can be a stressful and confronting time for an individual, but that is no excuse for acting dishonestly to deliberately disadvantage creditors’, Mr McCosker said.

‘People cannot absolve themselves of wrongdoing by claiming to have acted on professional advice.’

‘Reducing harmful actions by those providing untrustworthy advice has been a key focus area for AFSA in recent years and will continue to be a priority in years to come.’

Mr McCosker encouraged anyone experiencing financial difficulty to carefully consider advice received.

‘If you are in financial hardship and are unsure about the advice you’re receiving, or if you’re not sure where to begin, it is best to contact a reputable source for assistance. The National Debt Helpline can provide free assistance on their hotline, 1800 007 007.’

‘You can also seek the support of a registered trustee or debt agreement administrator – for more information visit afsa.gov.au.’

The case is expected to return to court later in 2021.