The Statement of Affairs is a critical element of bankruptcy in Australia and failing to file an SOA is a serious compliance offence. Where necessary, AFSA pursues criminal charges against those who are deliberately misusing the system and failing to file their required information.
In one ongoing case, a bankrupt person has been charged four times after continually failing to file his Statement of Affairs. Mr Graeme William Monk was made bankrupt by the court for unpaid debts to the ATO in 2007. On 18 March 2021, Mr Monk was prosecuted for the fourth time in relation to his failure to file the same required Statement of Affairs.
In this most recent prosecution in Frankston Magistrates Court, Mr Monk was convicted and sentenced to 120 hours of community service. In sentencing, Magistrate Charles Tan indicated that the obligation to file the Statement of Affairs was "live and pending" and that if he fails to file it and is prosecuted again, imprisonment is a real possibility.
Our records identify a possible 214 people who have been prosecuted for failing to file an SOA where the SOA remains unfiled. If compliance is not achieved after AFSA makes contact again, the matter will be referred to the CDPP for consideration of prosecution.
Before contacting offenders, AFSA staff will contact the trustee. This will ensure that trustees are aware that offenders may be contacted and trustees can also raise any concerns about the proposed action.
For more information, please email enforcement [at] afsa.gov.au