Zeki Boztepe, a bankrupt, has been sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for one year at Southwark Crown Court, for withdrawing 47,500 from his bank which he could not account for prior to his bankruptcy. This money could have been used to pay his creditors.
Mr Boztepes 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).
On 23rd September 2008, Mr Boztepe petitioned the court to declare him bankrupt. At his interview with the Official Receiver (OR) he said that he had borrowed approximately 18,000 from three private creditors but the interest they charged had resulted in his having to repay between 30,000 to 35,000.
During the subsequent investigation into his assets, Mr Boztepe did not satisfactorily account for the cash withdrawals made in the 12 months prior to his petition, saying he used the money for living expenses and to pay creditors who were making threats.
However, despite repeated requests from the authorities, including during public examination under oath, he refused to provide any details of who these creditors were or why he owed them money. He said he couldnt do this because he feared for his familys safety. He also claimed that having repaid 42,500 to the loan sharks, he had no choice but to borrow more money from his credit cards to pay living expenses.
The prosecutions case was that Mr Boztepes account was not true and that someone with access to significant credit facilities from ordinary banks and credit cards would not turn first to loan sharks.
Mr Boztepe was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 140 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of 2,500 within 12 months.
Deputy Chief Investigation Officer Liam Mannall from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said:
Individuals who borrow money and then resort to the protection of bankruptcy have a duty to give a truthful explanation to the Official Receiver as to how the money was spent. Mr Boztepe chose not to do so; as a result he now has a criminal conviction and could go to prison. This should be a warning to others considering similar actions.