shallow depth of field of accountant calculating financial data
shallow depth of field of accountant calculating financial data

Watchdog jails, fines 31 over $4m bankruptcy fraud

ALMOST one third of people jailed or fined for crimes under the Bankruptcy Act last year were from Queensland, the national insolvency regulator has revealed.

The Australian Financial Security Authority's (AFSA) annual report notes the financial watchdog prosecuted 96 people in the 2018-19 financial year and proved more than $4m of insolvency fraud.

Of AFSA's 96 prosecutions under the Bankruptcy Act, 31 were in Queensland.

Almost 2000 referrals of alleged misconduct were made to AFSA in the financial year, with 744 worth further investigation and 115 of those sent to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

"In total, 96 individuals were prosecuted for offences under the Bankruptcy Act. Our prosecutions attracted wide-ranging penalties, from fines to imprisonment," AFSA CEO Hamish McCormick said.

The number of prosecutions fell in 2018-19, down from 137 in the previous year, while the value of proven fraud also dropped from $5.5 million in 2017-18 to $4.6 million.

Complaints about registered trustees, and the Commonwealth Government's Official Trustee, both increased in 2018-19.

Mr McCormick said the annual Personal Insolvency Compliance Report provided an insight into the regulation of Australia's personal insolvency system and ensured AFSA was a "firm and a fair regulator".