Media Release: QLD (Billington) – Bankrupt convicted after receiving advice from untrustworthy advisor

On 26 July 2018, Ms Amanda Clair Billington was sentenced in the Maroochydore Magistrates’ Court, after pleading guilty to making a false declaration in her Statement of Affairs and failing to disclose information to her trustee.

On 12 January 2015, Ms Billington filed for voluntary bankruptcy with unsecured debts in excess of $838,000.

Ms Billington was the sole registered owner of an investment property located in Alice Springs, which was tenanted. A mortgage was registered against that property.

In September 2014, she signed a Loan Agreement with Supa Investments Pty Ltd for $200,000 secured over the property. This second mortgage was intended to create the illusion of there being nil equity in the property so that it was not commercially viable for her bankruptcy trustee to realise the property.

On 5 December 2014, Supa Investments Pty Ltd registered a mortgage over the property and during October 2014 and November 2014, a total of $200,000 was paid into Ms Billington’s bank account. Ms Billington immediately repaid the entire amount to the lender.

On her Statement of Affairs, Ms Billington declared Supa Investments Pty Ltd as a secured creditor over the Alice Springs property. Between March 2015 and October 2016, Ms Billington failed to respond to requests from her trustee to provide information in relation to the mortgage.

In March 2017, Ms Billington was discharged from her bankruptcy after creditors in her estate voted to accept a Composition (i.e. a repayment that is something less than the full amount owing).

In sentencing Ms Billington, Magistrate Madson convicted and fined her $750 on each charge. He noted her otherwise good character, lack of any prior convictions and guilty plea.

It was accepted that she was advised by a ‘shonky’ third party to engage in the conduct, giving rise to the false declaration charge. He stated that a non-conviction bond was not appropriate in the circumstances.

The matter was prosecuted by the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of the Australian Financial Security Authority.