An investigation by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) alleges that Sean Mauk and Sally Mauk, as well as their accountant Charles Roborg-Sondergaard, worked together to conceal or transfer funds that should have been available to creditors in Mr Mauk’s bankruptcy estate.
The regulator believes funds comprising more than $500,000 from a deceased estate were disposed of before Mr Mauk’s bankruptcy commenced in March 2018.
The accountant, Mr Roborg-Sondergaard, is currently registered with the Tax Practitioners Board and operates out of Osborne Park in Perth.
The trio have since indicated their intention to plead not guilty to a total of four charges under the Bankruptcy Act 1966.
Each of the four charges carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $63,000.
AFSA deputy chief executive Gavin McCosker said the case highlighted the importance of qualified advice and affirmed his office’s stance against untrustworthy advisers.
“Financial hardship can be a stressful and confronting time for an individual, but that is no excuse for acting dishonestly to deliberately disadvantage creditors,” Mr McCosker said.
“People cannot absolve themselves of wrongdoing by claiming to have acted on professional advice.
“Reducing harmful actions by those providing untrustworthy advice has been a key focus area for AFSA in recent years and will continue to be a priority in years to come.”
Mr McCosker has also urged individuals experiencing financial difficulty to reach out for assistance on the National Debt Helpline or through AFSA’s website.
“If you are in financial hardship and are unsure about the advice you’re receiving, or if you’re not sure where to begin, it is best to contact a reputable source for assistance,” he said.
“The National Debt Helpline can provide free assistance on their hotline, 1800 007 007.”
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Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.