Simon Sparks, a bankrupt, was sentenced to four months imprisonment, at the Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 11 October 2013, after pleading guilty to transferring money into his own company instead of paying his creditors.
Mr Sparks 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).
The court heard Mr Sparks (44) owed the HM Revenue & Custom (HMRC) approximately 32,786 in unpaid tax and that he refused to pay the HMRC because he claimed he was treated unfairly by them.
The court also heard that on 15 November 2010 Mr Sparks received 33,477. from his fathers will. On the same date, he instructed his solicitor to transfer the inheritance money to his company, Lasertech.
Mr Sparks was fully aware that he owed substantial sums of money to the HMRC and they were about to file a bankruptcy petition against him. However, when he came into possession of the inheritance money, he chose to ignore a court order and paid the money into his own company.
Three days after the transfer, Mr Sparks resigned as the director of Lasertech and his wife was appointed as a director using her maiden name of Karen Teader.
Having made this fraudulent transfer, Mr Sparks failed to disclose the inheritance money to the official receiver after he was declared bankrupt.
The investigation found, that the sole aim of the transfer was to avoid his liabilities and that the offence was clearly motivated by greed.
In court, Mr Sparks did not offer any convincing mitigation.
The probation report presented to the court during the trial highlights Mr Sparks attitude towards the offence. In particular, it stated that he didnt see how this offence was a problem as the HMRC were apparently getting their money anyway. The author of the report stated that Mr Sparks displayed an attitude that he should be able to act how he pleases regardless of legal and moral commitments.
Commenting on Mr Sparks sentencing, Deputy Chief Investigation Officer, Ian West, from BIS, said:
Mr Sparks transferred the money to avoid his legal obligation as a bankrupt, to hand it over to the Official Receiver for the benefit of his creditors.
This sort of criminal conduct is not to be tolerated. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will robustly investigate and prosecute those individuals who act in such a deliberately dishonest manner.
In sentencing Mr Sparks, the chairman said that the case clearly passed the custody threshold and the offence was so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate.