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In January of this year at Cardiff Crown Court, a man received a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, having been found guilty of failing to disclose an asset in his bankruptcy.

He was declared bankrupt in October 2013 following a petition by the tax authorities for unpaid taxes of more than £100,000.

People who are made bankrupt have a duty to declare their assets, which will be used to pay off their debts. Initially the man told the Official Receiver that he only owned two properties that had no equity in them.

However, following the appointment of a Trustee in Bankruptcy, further investigations identified a third property owned by the subject. The property was mortgage-free and had equity of at least £70,000, making it his most valuable asset.

He was confronted about his failure to disclose the third property and he stated that he was holding the property in trust for a friend, despite being shown as the owner on the Land Registry.

He was prosecuted for making a material omission in a statement relating to his affairs in failing to disclose the asset. He stood trial at Cardiff Magistrates Court on 12 December 2018 where he was found guilty of the offence.

He was later sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court , where in addition to the suspended prison sentence, he was fined £1,000, with 45 days imprisonment in default, and ordered to pay costs of £3,884, along with a victim surcharge of £150.

During sentencing the judge said: “It is essential that there be honesty in bankruptcy proceedings – the “bankruptcy bargain”. Where people are not honest it is inevitable that a custodial sentence will follow.”

Commenting, Chris Taylor, Commercial Director of SIRS Europe said  “Every day we are requested to carry out Asset Trace investigations for clients such as solicitors or insolvency practitioners, which shows the growing need for such services.”

Source: Insolvency Service