Michael Gerald Sheehy, a bankrupt, has been jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to three counts of removing money from his accounts and one count of failing to disclose these funds to the Official Receiver of The Insolvency Service.

Mr Sheehy, who was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court, thus prevented these funds being used either to pay taxes he owed, or to repay his benefits debt.

The 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).

At a time when Mr Sheehy was being pursued by HM Revenue & Customs for unpaid tax and by the Department for Work and Pensions for an overpayment of pension tax credits, he took 25,300 from his estate without using any of it to pay off those debts.

Then, when Mr Sheehy was made bankrupt, he failed to inform the Official Receiver that he still had money in a bank account, despite being informed of his duty to do so. By the time the Official Receiver found out about the secret account, Mr Sheehy had removed a further 12,300.

Mr Sheehy was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on each count to run concurrently.

Deputy Chief Investigation Officer Liam Mannall from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills said:

Mr Sheehy took money which should have remained available to service his debts. He later also failed to inform the Official Receiver of money held by him which he subsequently removed from his account.

The sentence should serve as a reminder to those considering such actions that the consequences are severe. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills will pursue and prosecute those who flout insolvency law by denying creditors access to payment for debts due.

Source: http://www.bis.gov.uk