Rophaeel pleads guilty to disposing of $200k prior to bankruptcy

On 3 September 2019, Mr Waseem Zekiria Rophaeel pleaded guilty in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court to disposing of $199,500 the day before he was made bankrupt.

In May 2017, Mr Rophaeel was served with a Bankruptcy Notice following a Magistrate Court’s judgement over a $25,000 debt.

Following the sale of a solely-owned property in October 2017, he withdrew $190,000 and paid it to family members.

On the same day he failed to attend Federal Court, he withdrew a further $8,500 in cash and $11,700 as a bank cheque. The bank cheque was later used to purchase a motor vehicle.

People being made bankrupt by the courts are required to submit a Statement of Affairs within 14 days to the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA). Mr Rophaeel only submitted his Statement of Affairs after being charged.

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of AFSA in 2019.

Since being charged, Mr Rophaeel paid in excess of $94,000 to his trustee and his bankruptcy was annulled with all creditors receiving full repayment of their debts.

After pleading guilty on 3 September 2019, Mr Rophaeel was released without conviction on a $800 good behaviour bond for 18 months.

In sentencing, Her Honour Magistrate R. Falla noted that the offending was not trivial, was completely avoidable and risked effecting Mr Rophaeel’s livelihood. Her Honour said she took into account Mr Rophaeel’s lack of prior criminal history, the steps he had taken to repay all his creditors, albeit late, and that he was otherwise of good character.

The Director of AFSA’s Enforcement team, Ms Gemma Denton, explained that sentencing is ultimately a matter for the court.

“While the prosecution did not attract a more serious penalty, it is pleasing to see that our prosecution of the matter prompted Mr Rophaeel to file his Statement of Affairs form, and ultimately pay $94,000 to the bankrupt estate,” Ms Denton said.

“These actions have assisted the bankruptcy trustee to administer the estate and pay a full dividend to creditors.

“AFSA is committed to working with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute those who do not comply with bankruptcy laws.”

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Key dates and details:

May 2017

On 14 May 2017, Mr Rophaeel was served with a Bankruptcy Notice issued on application of Lion Finance Pty Ltd, who had obtained a judgment in the Magistrates Court for a debt of $25,196.

July 2017

On 23 July 2017, Mr Rophaeel was served with a Creditors Petition for non-payment of the debt to Lion Finance.

August 2017

On 29 August 2017, Mr Rophaeel appeared in the Melbourne Federal Circuit Court and sought an adjournment of the hearing for the Creditor’s Petition, as his property settlement was due on 9 October 2017 and he would then be in a position to pay the outstanding debt to Lion Finance Pty Ltd, plus costs.

October 2017

On 12 October 2017, Mr Rophaeel received in excess of $208,000 from the sale of his solely owned house property. On 16 October 2017, he withdrew $190,000 and paid it to family members.

He failed to attend the Federal Court on 17 October 2017, and as Lion Finance had not received any contact from him, he was made bankrupt by a sequestration order. 

On the same day he withdrew $8,500 in cash and a bank cheque for $11,779 for a motor vehicle.

December 2018

Despite several requests from his bankruptcy trustee, and after being charged with this offence, it was not until 18 December 2018 that Mr Rophaeel completed and filed a Statement of Affairs with the Official Receiver.

In December 2018, Mr Rophaeel paid in excess of $94,000 to his trustee and his bankruptcy was annulled with all creditors receiving full repayment of their debts.

Useful links:

AFSA Enforcement snap-shot 2018-19

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.

Media contact:

Please email media [at] afsa.gov.au or phone 0408 105 665.