A FEDERAL agency chased a Gladstone man for nearly two years to fill out a form a magistrate said would take just five minutes.
A FEDERAL agency chased a Gladstone man for nearly two years to fill out a form a magistrate said would take just five minutes. FILE

Department chased tradie for two years over bankruptcy claim

A FEDERAL agency chased a Gladstone man for nearly two years to fill out a form a magistrate said would take just five minutes.

Former business owner Michael Rodney Stark pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court last week to one count of fail to make out and file statement of affairs and furnish a copy to trustee of estate.

A representative of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) told the court Stark was charged under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 after he failed to file a statement of affairs.

The representative said Stark owed over $100,000 and was declared bankrupt in June 2017.

The court was told on June 8, 2017 the trustee wrote to Stark and notified him of the bankruptcy declaration.

The letter also contained a statement of affairs form Stark needed to complete within 14 days.

Stark still had not completed the form by September, prompting an investigation by the Australian Financial Security Authority.

The 44-year-old was given several other opportunities to complete the form before it became a matter for the courts.

The CDPP representative said it was "serious" as it was a "continuing offence".

"He was afforded multiple opportunities to do so," the representative said.

Defence lawyer Jun Pepito said Stark started his own business in 2001.

"Before the boom, business was good and he employed five people.

"Then they started to use bigger contractors, one busted and the other owed money...everything tumbled down."

Mr Pepito said Stark use to own three properties; two rentals and his house and the tenants of one property stopped paying rent.

"He had no money coming in, my client was forced to go down a certain path," he said.

Acting Magistrate Athol Kennedy said if Mr Pepito's submissions were accurate, then filling out the bankruptcy form should have been simple.

"If you have got nothing, and that is what you (Stark) are saying to me, it would take like five minutes to fill out that form," Magistrate Kennedy said.

"You are a tiler tradesman, you were doing well and a contractor went bust.

"They are probably driving a Mercedes Benz in Hawaii, but you're out of pocket."

Stark was required to fill out the form. He was also fined $200 and ordered to pay $96 in court costs.

A conviction was recorded.


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