NSW man sentenced following property disposal prior to bankruptcy

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A New South Wales man has been fined after pleading guilty to 4 counts of disposing of property within 12 months of filing for bankruptcy and one count of making a false declaration following an investigation by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).

Mr Mahfoud Assi was convicted in the Parramatta Local Court, sentenced to 18 months of community corrections orders and fined a total of $9,000 for his offending.

Mr Assi was declared bankrupt in July 2020. In administering Mr Assi’s estate, the Official Trustee discovered that within 12 months prior to bankruptcy, Mr Assi withdrew $120,000 across 7 cash withdrawals from his bank accounts. Two days prior to filing for bankruptcy, Mr Assi also transferred ownership of a boat.

Mr Assi subsequently made a false declaration on his Statement of Affairs by not declaring the transfer of the boat.

AFSA National Manager Enforcement & Practitioner Surveillance, Sarah Marshall, said taking action to deter bad behaviour is critical.

‘AFSA is committed to acting against misuse to protect trust and confidence in the personal insolvency system,’ Ms Marshall said.

‘Under the Bankruptcy Act, it is an offence to dispose of property within 12 months of applying for bankruptcy with the intent to defraud creditors.’

‘By failing to provide accurate information, Mr Assi impaired the administration of his estate and disadvantaged the people and businesses who were owed money.’

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

Suspected wrongdoing, criminal misconduct, dishonesty, or fraud in a personal insolvency can be reported to AFSA at Reporting a tip-off. Tip-offs can be made anonymously.

Sentencing information:

Mr Assi pleaded guilty to 5 counts under the Bankruptcy Act 1966.

  • Counts 1 – 4: Dispose of property objectively valued at $20 or more and within a period of 12 months after the disposal of that property a petition for bankruptcy was presented, contrary to s265(7) read with s265(4)(a) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966
  • Count 5: Knowingly make false declaration in statement of affairs contrary to s267(2) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966

For counts 1- 4 he was convicted and sentenced to serve two 12-month community corrections orders concurrently and fined a total of $9,000. For count 5 he was convicted and sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order concurrent with counts 1-4, for making a false declaration.