Bankrupt sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison following MBIE & Police Investigation
- Sarena Walker sentenced to 6 ½ years’ imprisonment
- Convicted of 4 charges under the Insolvency Act 2006
- Guilty of 2 charges relating to the Crimes Act 1961
A bankrupt has been sentenced to 6 ½ years’ imprisonment following joint work by MBIE’s Integrity and Enforcement team and New Zealand Police.
53-year-old Sarena Walker, previously known as Rebecca Kennedy, was convicted of 4 charges under the Insolvency Act 2006 (The Act) as well as criminal charges of Obtains by Deception and Theft by a Person in a Special Relationship at Wellington District Court today.
Ms Walker pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 6 ½ years’ imprisonment following the charges brought by New Zealand Police and MBIE’s Integrity and Enforcement team.
Commenting on the case, Manager of MBIE’s Integrity and Enforcement, Vanessa Cook said:
“There are obligations and restrictions for individuals who have been adjudicated bankrupt to protect the interests of the creditors and the community at large.
“When Ms Walker was adjudicated bankrupt in August 2015, she was made fully aware of her obligations. By changing her name, concealing her assets and attempting to leave New Zealand without informing the Official Assignee, Ms Walker either wilfully ignored or actively chose to break the law.
“New Zealand has a fair insolvency process which ensures that people are dealt with fairly, equitably and predictably. Miss Walker chose not to cooperate in this process meaning enforcement action had to be taken.
“If you have been adjudicated bankrupt, it is vital that you meet your responsibilities under the Act so that you can resolve your financial situation, be discharged from the register and participate again in economic life.
Following sentencing, Detective Samuel O’Connor of Police National Organised Crime Group said:
“Police are satisfied with today’s result. This matter has been with Police for the past 4 years. We hope this sentencing will mean that the victims get a sense of justice and can move on with their lives.
“Police would like to thank MBIE’s Integrity and Enforcement investigation team with their ongoing assistance throughout the investigation.
“Police would like to remind the public around scams, that if it seems too good to be true then it probably is.
“Police acknowledge that there may be further victims of Ms Walker and would encourage them to report to their nearest station or by entering a report online at 105.police.govt.nz or by calling 105.”
“MBIE’s Integrity and Enforcement Investigations team has worked closely with colleagues in the New Zealand Police in order to bring about Ms Walker’s conviction and I am pleased that we have been able to bring this case to a conclusion.”
Report online(external link) — New Zealand Police website
Details of charges under the Insolvency Act 2006:
Following investigations by MBIE’s Integrity and Enforcement team, Ms Walker was found to have breached the Insolvency Act in the following manner:
While a bankrupt, did fail without reasonable excuse to immediately notify the Official Assignee of a change in her name as required by s 145(c) of the Insolvency Act 2006.
- In October 2019, Ms Walker (Kennedy) completed an application to register a change in her name from Rebecca Ang Kennedy to Sarena Walker. The defendant was obliged to immediately notify the Official Assignee of the change in her name, but did not do so.
2 x When bankrupt did, after the application for an adjudication was filed, conceal property to the value of $500 or more as required by s 420(2)(a) of the Insolvency Act.
- In August 2020, Ms Walker opened 2 bank accounts with the Blenheim branch of ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd. Ms Walker was obliged to notify the Official Assignee of the existence of the bank accounts and the money she held at them. Ms Walker concealed the accounts and the money they held from the Official Assignee.
- In December 2020, Ms Walker opened a bank account with the Blenheim branch of Westpac New Zealand Ltd. In April 2021, Ms Walker opened another bank account with the Blenheim branch of Westpac. Ms Walker was obliged to notify the Official Assignee of the existence of the bank accounts and the money she held at them. Ms Walker concealed the accounts and the money they held from the Official Assignee.
Attempting to leave New Zealand without the consent of the Official Assignee as required by s 433 of the Insolvency Act 2006.
- In February 2022, Ms Walker attempted to leave New Zealand via Auckland International Airport destined for Cambodia via Singapore. She had not contacted the Official Assignee to seek consent before making arrangements to travel. Ms Walker was arrested before boarding her flight after an MBIE Border Alert notified New Zealand Police of her attempt to travel.