West Australian man convicted of 43 bankruptcy charges

West Australian man, John Paul Boardman, has pleaded guilty to 43 charges under Commonwealth bankruptcy law in the Perth Magistrates Court.

He was convicted, sentenced to 14 months imprisonment and released on a recognisance order that he be of good behaviour for three years. He was also fined a total of $6,000.

Mr Boardman entered bankruptcy voluntarily in June 2014, and was made aware of his obligations under Commonwealth law by the personal insolvency regulator, the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).

People who are bankrupt are required to seek permission from AFSA before leaving the country. Despite being made aware of this requirement upon entering bankruptcy, Mr Boardman travelled overseas 12 times in three years without seeking that permission.

He was also was charged with knowingly making a false declaration in a Statement of Affairs – a document that must be submitted to AFSA when entering into bankruptcy.

Mr Boardman claimed that he was not a director of a company and had not been in the previous five years. He also claimed he did not own shares. AFSA’s investigation found that Mr Boardman had been a director of four companies and held over 250,000 shares.

In his Statement of Affairs, Mr Boardman declared that he had $1,800 in available cash. In the three years after he entered bankruptcy, Mr Boardman was found to have traded millions of shares and sold shares to a total value in excess of $500,000.

Mr Boardman was discharged from his bankruptcy on 11 January 2018.

In sentencing, Magistrate Campione stated that it was critical that the Statement of Affairs was completed in a full and frank manner and that it was not a difficult document to complete, and noted that Mr Boardman’s actions showed a complete disregard for the bankruptcy system.

Her Honour also highlighted the seriousness and significance of the breaches, noting that Mr Boardman’s offending was blatant and persistent, and aggravated in the sense that it was a course of conduct over a period of time, not as a one-off offence.

AFSA’s Deputy Chief Executive, Gavin McCosker explained that the community must have confidence in the personal insolvency system for it to operate effectively.

“AFSA thoroughly investigates allegations of law-breaking,” Mr McCosker said.

 “In this instance, AFSA’s investigation found blatant and repeated breaches of Commonwealth bankruptcy law. Such blatant breaches of bankruptcy law can erode the public’s trust if they go unpunished.

“Information from insolvency professionals and members of the public is a crucial element in protecting the integrity of the personal insolvency system. If you suspect that someone is acting fraudulently or dishonestly, I encourage you to provide further information to AFSA by visiting afsa.gov.au/tip-off.

“AFSA works closely with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to seek convictions. Convictions for wrongdoing of this nature are vitally important to maintaining the public’s trust and confidence in the personal insolvency system.”

Charges and sentence:

Mr Boardman pleaded guilty to the following charges under the Bankruptcy Act 1966:

  • 1 count of making a false declaration in a Statement of Affairs, contrary to section 267(2)
  • 12 counts of travelling overseas while being an undischarged bankrupt without the permission of the trustee contrary, to section 272(1)(c)
  • 30 counts of removing, disposing or dealing with property after bankruptcy, contrary to section 265(4)(a)

In relation to the travelling overseas offences, he was convicted and fined a total of $6,000. In relation to the false declaration in the Statement of Affairs, he was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment to be served at the same time.

With regard to the disposal of property he was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment on each charge.

In total, Mr Boardman was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment. Her Honour ordered that Mr Boardman be released on a recognisance release order that he be of good behaviour for three years.

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

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