Michael John OBrien, a bankrupt, has been sentenced to six months in prison, at Cardiff Crown Court, for facilitating a fraudulent transfer of jointly-owned property in the period of five years prior to the date of his bankruptcy.
Mr OBriens 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).
He is already servicing a four-month sentence for breaching Trading Standards rules, following an action brought by Bridgend County Borough Council.
The investigation found that just over one month prior to Mr OBrien, 58, being made bankrupt on 16 February 2011, he and his wife sold their jointly owned property in Pencoed, Bridgend, to their children with what is called a gifted deposit. This ensured the children did not pay anywhere near the true value of the property as the gifted deposit made the larger share of the value a gift to them. Mr OBriens share of this was 5,725.
The transfer of property was carried out at a time when Mr OBrien was fully aware that a number of creditors were taking legal action against him and that a bankruptcy petition had been issued against him. He was also aware that his joint share in the property was his only asset.
Commenting on the case, Liam Mannall, Deputy Chief Investigation Officer, with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said:
Mr O'Brien's conviction should serve as a warning to those who seek to avoid paying their debts by deliberately attempting to put their assets out of reach of their creditors. In this case Mr O'Brien sold his house to his children making part of the transfer a gift. This is against the law relating to insolvency.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will investigate and prosecute individuals who embark on such conduct and place them before the criminal courts.