On 16 October 2019, Ms Valentina Trajcevski was sentenced to six months imprisonment in the Heidelberg Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to eight charges under the Commonwealth Bankruptcy Act.
Ms Trajcevski pleaded guilty and was convicted for the removal of property - $149,000 in cash - within the 12 months prior to her filing her debtor’s petition and declaring herself bankrupt.
Ms Trajcevski was immediately released on a recognisance release order to be of good behaviour for 18 months, and was also ordered to pay disbursements.
In the three months prior to declaring herself bankrupt in November 2014, Ms Trajcevski withdrew $149,000 from her bank accounts.
An investigation by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) found that Ms Trajcevski withdrew $102,000 in a single day by attending five separate bank branches across five different suburbs.
Later that day, Ms Trajcevski departed Australia for Macedonia, where she lived for over three years – usually the standard length of a bankruptcy.
In sentencing, Magistrate Ballek took into account Ms Trajcevski having no prior criminal history and her character references.
However, his Honour stated that despite Ms Trajcevski suggesting she “wasn’t sure of what was going on”, her departure overseas and return after three years had passed, suggested that she was aware.
Magistrate Ballek also stated that general deterrence and denunciation are important factors.
Generally, bankruptcy is for a term of three years and one day after a statement of affairs is filed and accepted by the Official Receiver. Following an objection lodged by her bankruptcy trustee in October 2017, Ms Trajcevski remains an undischarged bankrupt.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of AFSA.
Eight charges of conceals, removes, disposes of or deals with his or her property to the value of $20 or more, within 12 months prior to bankruptcy, contrary to section 265(4)(a) read with 265(7) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966.
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 Of those charges, 11 were withdrawn, 122 proven with conviction, 4 proven without conviction, 7 were dismissed and 1 not proven.