Suspended sentence for bankrupt who burnt cash owed
A bankrupt who claimed to have burnt nearly £70,000 in cash rather than pay insolvency practitioners has received a suspended prison term
21 Feb 2019
At Swansea Crown Court David Lowes-Bird was found guilty on of one count of fraudulent removal of property contrary to the Insolvency Act 1986 and sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months.
Over the course of a three-day trial, the court heard that Lowes-Bird was involved in a protracted legal dispute with a firm of insolvency practitioners. However, he lost the case in November 2014 and was ordered by the courts to pay £30,000 in costs.
Lowes-Bird had substantial debts and was unable to pay the insolvency practitioners. This resulted in him accepting a bankruptcy restriction undertaking lasting nine years, after the insolvency practitioners petitioned for his bankruptcy.
Around the same time, Lowes-Bird received nearly £80,000 in an insurance pay-out and this should have gone to the Official Receiver in order to pay his creditors, including the insolvency practitioners he had previously been ordered to pay costs to.
Upon realising this, however, he removed the £80,000 from his account and claimed to the Official Receiver that he burned it in order to prevent the insolvency practitioners at all costs from receiving it.
While giving evidence in court, Lowes-Bird changed his story and claimed he burnt £30,000 and had given a large part of the remaining insurance pay-out to charity, although he offered no evidence of this.
Upon sentence, Mr Recorder Mills said that Lowes-Bird’s actions were ‘wicked, arrogant and actually very stupid’.
Glenn Wicks, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: ‘David Lowes-Bird could have paid the £30,000 debt owed to the insolvency practitioners. However, his hatred towards them and sense of injustice was his motive, which ultimately led to his downfall.’
Report by Pat Sweet