Debtor prosecuted for misleading Official Assignee about name change

Wellington debtor Tony Knight has been sentenced for seven offences under the Insolvency Act, including misleading the Official Assignee (OA) and incurring debt while bankrupt.

Mr Knight has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service and ordered to pay reparation of $3,537.

“Mr Knight committed a number of serious offences including  failing to notify the Official Assignee of a change in name, making a false or misleading statement to the Official Assignee in relation to an application for entry into the No Asset Procedure, and incurring debt whilst bankrupt,” says Robyn Cox, National Manager Insolvency and Trustee Service.

“The defendant changed his name from Kyle Woods to Tony Knight and was then able to have a second No Asset Procedure, writing off debts incurred while he was still an undischarged bankrupt.” 

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) takes this kind of offending against the integrity of the insolvency legislation very seriously. It is simply not acceptable for someone to change their name and take advantage of the system.”

The No Asset Procedure is an alternative to bankruptcy introduced in 2007 that allows debtors with debts under $47,000 to receive the opportunity of a fresh start by having most of their debts written off.  

Under the Act the opportunity to enter into a No Asset Procedure is only available once and cannot be used if the person has been previously bankrupt.

When the OA found out about the previous name, Mr Knight had his participation in the No Asset Procedure terminated. Mr Knight then became liable again for the debts that had been included in the No Asset Procedure.

“Bankruptcy and No Asset Procedure are designed to give genuine debtors a fresh start, which is crucial to counteracting the significant negative impacts of unmanageable debt on people, both socially and economically,” says Ms Cox.

“When individuals blatantly misuse that opportunity they commit a serious form of offending, not just against their creditors but against the community as well”.

You can read more about the No Asset Procedure process on MBIE’s Insolvency and Trustee Services website.