Victorian woman jailed for serious bankruptcy offences

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A Victorian woman has been sentenced to 2 years imprisonment by the Victorian County Court after pleading guilty to 13 offences under the Bankruptcy Act.

Thao Thi Luong was prosecuted for disposing of property with the intent to defraud creditors, both in the 12 months prior to her bankruptcy and during her bankruptcy.

She will serve 5 months imprisonment and will also be subject to conditions upon release – including a three year good behaviour bond, with $4,000 as security.

Ms Luong was made bankrupt by a court order in January 2019, with accrued debts of more than $1.5 million.

After her initial bankruptcy notice was served in August 2018, Ms Luong withdrew and disposed of more than $50,000 from a range of bank accounts that she was a signatory to.

A creditor’s petition was filed in November 2018, and Ms Luong withdrew and disposed of a further $95,000 between December 2018 and January 2019. Of this amount, $45,000 was received from Crown Casino.

Information about the bank accounts in her name was not provided to her bankruptcy trustee nor included in her Statement of Affairs.

The Australian Financial Security Authority’s Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Peter Edwards, noted the importance of deterrence in pursuing charges against those who breach insolvency laws.

‘The insolvency system is built on integrity and transparency – and those who seek to undermine it must be appropriately disciplined,’ Mr Edwards said.

‘We know that financial difficulties can be a stressful time for individuals, and we work closely with those experiencing hardship to provide support – however, individuals who deliberately misuse the system must be held accountable.’

‘The defendant in these circumstances failed to disclose information about her assets to her bankruptcy trustee. As a result, genuine creditors have lost access to funds that should have been available to help repay the debts they were owed.’

More information about insolvency is available on the AFSA website.