Simon Peter Eagle, a former bankrupt has been sentenced to eight months imprisonment after being found guilty of failing to disclose to a bankruptcy trustee the funds he received following the sale of a flat he owned, following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Mr Eagles conviction follows an initial investigation by The Insolvency Service and a full criminal investigation and Prosecution by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Mr Eagle, 54,pleaded guilty to two counts of omitting to disclose a bank account he held to the Official Receiver as required by law, and was sentenced to five months imprisonment on each count. The court also pronounced him guilty of failing to disclose his interest in a flat, which is a condition of his bankruptcy. He was given an eight month sentence on the latter count. The two sentences will run concurrently.
Mr Eagle had previously contested a bankruptcy petition in relation to an 8,000 credit card debt. He later settled the debt involved, but his decision to contest the action resulted in him incurring legal fees and his failure to pay these led to a second petition being issued against him.
Companies controlled by Mr Eagle also owed in excess of 16m to Pershings Securities, a global provider of financial services, relating to losses incurred due to unsettled share transactions in a share ramping scheme.
The share ramping was perpetrated by companies over which Mr Eagle had control and in respect of which the FSA imposed a 2.8m civil penalty on Mr Eagle personally. A confiscation order of 24,419.82 plus accrued interest was also ordered by the court. The proceeds of the confiscation order are to be paid to Mr Eagles trustee in bankruptcy as compensation.
The trustee is still making inquiries in relation to tracing Mr Eagles assets.
Mr Eagle was acquitted on two counts of failing to disclose property, namely 1. 2m in shares commission.
The Serious Fraud Office defines share ramping, also known as pumping and dumping as: ..where criminals influence the share price of a company and then take advantage of it.
At trial, Mr Eagle claimed unsuccessfully that the flat he had failed to declare was not his property but that he held it on trust for a British Virgin Island-registered company which was involved in the share ramping scheme.
Commenting on the case, Deputy Chief Investigating Officer Ian West from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills said:
This should be a warning to all bankrupts not to try and conceal assets.
Mr. Eagle made a cynical and calculated attempt to illegally hide assets from the Official Receiver. This is a matter that is taken seriously by the courts and can, as has happened in this case attract a custodial sentence.