Press release

Prison sentence, community service and costs awarded against bankrupt who hid interest in property

Mukhtar Singh, a bankrupt, has been sentenced on 9 July to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to a fraudulent removal of property, perjury and making a material omission following a hearing at Walsall Magistrates’ Court.

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Mr Singh’s 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 investigation showed that on 20 January 2010, 9 months before he was made bankrupt, Mr Singh removed his interest in a property by transferring it to his wife. During the course of the bankruptcy proceedings, when he was questioned about it, he lied about his knowledge of a court judgment made against him, even though this was the judgment that led to his bankruptcy. He also failed to mention another property that he had an interest in and which was adjoining the one he transferred to his wife. This is relevant to the date when he transferred his interest in the property to his wife.

Furthermore, he did not mention the transferred property in two interviews with the Official Receiver’s office, following his bankruptcy. This only came to light due to enquiries undertaken by those managing his bankruptcy.

Commenting on Mr Singh’s case, Glenn Wicks, Deputy Chief Investigating Officer, with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills said:

Mr Singh fraudulently transferred property when he knew he should not, then failed to co-operate throughout his bankruptcy with either the Insolvency Service or the investigation officer. He was very lucky indeed not to be sent to prison for these serious offences.

The sentence in full:

  • He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
  • He received four months for the first count (the fraudulent transfer of property), six months for the second count (the material omission) to be served concurrently.
  • He then received a further six months for the third count (perjury) to be served consecutively.
  • In addition, he has to undertake 180 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 in costs.

As a result of Mr Singh’s failure to cooperate with the bankruptcy proceedings, his discharge from bankruptcy was suspended indefinitely.

Notes to Editors

Mukhtar Singh is from Wolverhampton, his date of birth is 4 September 1970 and he was made bankrupt on 4 October 2010.

The charges:

  • It is an offence for an individual to remove property with fraudulent intent in the period after a civil judgment or order being made against him (charge 1).
  • The bankrupt is required to give a full account of his affairs to the Official Receiver, making a material omission during this account amounts to an offence (charge 2).
  • It is an offence for a bankrupt to lie to the Official Receiver about the circumstances relevant to his bankruptcy (charge 3).

Details:

  • Bank of Scotland obtained a court judgment on 1 December 2009 in relation to a loan agreement to purchase a BMW M5. On 4 January 2010, Mr Singh unsuccessfully applied to the court to have the judgment against him set aside.
  • Mr Singh owned a property, worth around £110,000, with his wife. On 20 January 2010, Mr Singh transferred his interest in that property to his wife.
  • Bank of Scotland petitioned for his bankruptcy and he was made bankrupt on 13 October 2010. Debts of £44,091.78.

Offences:

  • Mukhtar Singh, on 20 January 2010, being a bankrupt, in the period before bankruptcy, removed his property, namely his interest in a property called 15 Morley Grove, Wolverhampton, WV6 0LX after an unsatisfied judgment of £26,602.16 had been obtained against him by Bank of Scotland plc on 1 December 2009. Contrary to section 357(3) Insolvency Act 1986
  • Mukhtar Singh, between 22 March 2011 and 23 May 2011, being a bankrupt, made a material omission in a statement made under section 291 of the Insolvency Act 1986 in relation to his affairs, in that he failed to disclose his interest in a property at 11 Morley Grove, Wolverhampton, WV6 0LX. Contrary to section 356 (1) Insolvency Act 1986
  • Mukhtar Singh, on 23 May 2011, wilfully made a statement which was false in the following material particularly, namely that he was unaware of a judgment obtained by Bank of Scotland plc on 1 December 2009 in a narrative statement given under section 291(4) of the Insolvency Act 1986. Contrary to section 5(c) Perjury Act 1911.

The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.

Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/insolvency-service

BIS’ mission is to build a Dynamic and Competitive UK economy, in particular by creating the conditions for business success and promoting an open global economy. The Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team contributes to this aim by taking action to deter fraud and to regulate the market. We investigate and prosecute a range of offences, primarily relating to personal or company insolvencies. Further information about the work of the Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/bis-criminal-prosecutions

Media enquiries only should be directed to: Kathryn Montague, Media & Campaigns Manager on 0207 674 6910 or Ade Daramy, Media Manager on 0207 596 6187.

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Published 4 August 2014