A Queensland woman acting on the advice of an untrustworthy pre-insolvency advisor has been convicted following an investigation by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).
Ms Jasmine Grochau pleaded guilty to one charge of defrauding bankruptcy proceedings in the Southport District Court. She was sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment and released on a good behaviour bond for 3 years.
In October 2015, Ms Grochau declared a debt of $85,000 to Wolfe Tone Developments in her Statement of Affairs. This debt was fraudulent, linked to Ms Grochau’s partner and specifically designed to affect the voting rights and increase the chances of an annulment being passed by creditors.
It is alleged that the fraudulent activity was driven by untrustworthy advice, with a pre-insolvency advisor suggesting that Ms Grochau and her partner falsify the debt and related proof of debt document.
Registered trustees administering the estate noticed the anomalies and reported the matter to AFSA for investigation.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of AFSA.
AFSA Deputy Chief Executive Gavin McCosker highlighted the harm untrustworthy advice does to the integrity of the insolvency system.
‘Deliberate misconduct and non-compliance, sometimes as a result of dodgy advice, can result in individuals committing crimes,’ Mr McCosker said.
‘This matter illustrates that those who deliberately misuse the system will be held accountable.'
‘Taking advice from an untrustworthy individual can have very real consequences for you as an individual – including a criminal conviction.’
‘Don’t ignore the warning signs – if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’ AFSA’s report, Untrustworthy Advisors: A hidden scourge in Australia’s personal insolvency system, highlights the prevalence of, and consequences of dealing with, untrustworthy advisors.
More information about untrustworthy advisors and how to get trustworthy insolvency advice is available on the AFSA website: afsa.gov.au/untrustworthyadvisors