On 29 October 2019, the Downing Centre Local Court, Mr Phillip Gordon Atkinson was convicted ex parte for failing to file a Statement of Affairs, an offence under the Commonwealth Bankruptcy Act.
He was convicted and fined $2,500.
Mr Atkinson, of Avalon Beach in New South Wales, became bankrupt by order of the court in June 2018 following a petition from the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation over unpaid debts in excess of $125,000.
Mr Atkinson was notified of his obligation to file a Statement of Affairs with the Australian Financial Security Authority in September 2018. In December 2018, the Official Receiver issued a 77CA Notice, directing Mr Atkinson to file the outstanding statement within 14 days.
Mr Atkinson failed to submit the Statement of Affairs and was prosecuted on behalf of AFSA by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Sixty-one bankrupt people were prosecuted for similar offences in 2018-19 financial year.
The Director of AFSA’s Enforcement team, Ms Gemma Denton, explained the seriousness of the offences.
“The Statement of Affairs contains essential information about a bankrupt individual including contact details, income information, asset descriptions, debts owed and associated entities,” Ms Denton said.
“The form assists the Official Trustee and Registered Trustees to investigate the financial affairs of the bankrupt person.
“AFSA is committed to ensuring bankrupt people meet their obligations under Commonwealth bankruptcy legislation.”
Mr Atkinson was found guilty of one charge under section 54(1) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) for failing to make out and file a Statement of Affairs with the Official Receiver, and provide a copy to the trustee within 14 days of being notified of the bankruptcy.
In 2018-19, 96 persons were prosecuted for a total of 145 charges during the year. Of those charges, 11 were withdrawn, 122 proven with conviction, 4 proven without conviction, 7 were dismissed and 1 not proven.