Media Release - VIC (Cheng) - Bankrupt faces charges for not revealing financial transactions using other surnames

Friday, February 26, 2016

Mrs Cheng, also known as Shirley Lai Har Leong and Shirley Celinstep, entered into a Personal Insolvency Agreement (PIA) in July 2009, to pay $65,000 over 4 years for repayment of debts totalling $180,035.

At the time she failed to disclose that she had also used the name Shirley Lai Har Leong in the previous ten years and held a current Australian passport, two bank accounts and six credit cards in that name.

Mrs Cheng failed to comply with the terms of her PIA. Her trustee applied to the court for her agreement to be terminated and for Mrs Cheng to be made bankrupt.

Mrs Cheng was made bankrupt on 26 September 2011.

She again failed to disclose use of an alternative name. She also failed to disclose any unsecured creditors, despite having 13 outstanding credit card accounts with debts totalling $135,338 and a loan to the value of $7,434. 

Mrs Cheng removed $18,800 prior to bankruptcy and a further $47,100 after her bankruptcy from an undisclosed bank account.

Mrs Cheng left Australia on 6 August 2013, without the consent of her trustee, returning on 22 August 2013.

Mrs Cheng was convicted and placed on a Community Correction Order (CCO) for 12 months, to perform 200 hours of unpaid community work.

She was also ordered to undergo a mental health assessment and treatment and attend an offending behaviours program. 

In sentencing, Magistrate McNamara described Mrs Cheng’s actions as dishonest and serious enough to consider a jail sentence. He noted her lack of prior convictions.

Mrs Cheng was ordered to pay disbursement costs of $176.

The matter was prosecuted by the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.