A New South Wales man, Michael Andrew West, was convicted in the Parramatta District Court after pleading guilty to two charges of disposing of property and one count of making a false declaration in his Statement of Affairs.
He was sentenced to an Intensive Corrections Order for two years and four months, in which time he must not commit any offences and must submit to supervision by a community corrections officer. Mr West is also required to complete 120 hours of community service work.
Mr West was made bankrupt by the Federal Circuit Court in March 2015 following a petition from the Australian Taxation Office.
In April 2015, Mr West received funds in excess of $300,000 from the sale of a property. The conditions of sale for the property, including the division of profits, were outlined in family court proceedings completed in August 2014.
After the property was sold, the proceeds were transferred to a law firm acting for Mr West in the family court matter. Mr West instructed his lawyers to transfer the sale profits to two bank accounts belonging to other individuals: his brother, Darren West and Michael Diab, despite being aware of his outstanding debt to the Australian Taxation Office.
Mr West filed his Statement of Affairs with the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) in May 2016. In that document, he failed to declare any information about the prior family court proceedings and sale of a property. No information was provided about the net proceeds of the sale.
In addition to failing to declare the property sale, Mr West provided incorrect information in his Statement of Affairs regarding the status of his owned assets and outstanding debts.
The trustee was able to recoup $140,000 of those funds from Mr Diab.
AFSA Deputy Chief Executive, Gavin McCosker, explained the importance of providing factual information in any dealings with Australia’s personal insolvency system.
“AFSA is a firm and fair regulator,” Mr McCosker said.
“It is important that people entering into bankruptcy are honest with their trustee, as failing to declare your assets is both illegal and unfair to your creditors.”
“AFSA takes alleged breaches of bankruptcy law seriously. We investigate, and where we find evidence of wrongdoing, we work with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to seek convictions.”
Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth)
Mr West pleaded guilty to three charges under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth).
- 1 x section 266(1) offence
- 1 x section 266(3) offence
- 1 x section 267(2) offence