A bunch of years ago a friend came to me and asked if I could fund a business for him, that being a small snack bar/takeaway in a fairly busy area. I was familiar with his abilities as he had previously bought residential houses, refurbished them, then resold them and made a tidy profit. I thought it was a good idea, and as I had recently sold a property of my own I went along with it.
The business was purchased in 2004 and a loan of $45,000 was registered via a solicitor (lawyer) and it was all looking good. I did drop by the cafe on a number of occasions and was always offered free coffee/food/drinks, but I rarely accepted as I wanted his business to flourish.
There were a number of additional loans made for refurbishments and the loan had increased to $79,500. OK, I might be a bit slow, but I was still trusting until I noticed that he started to take on employees which impacted on his repayments. Eventually he closed the business and immediately changed residential address. A mutual friend contacted me with his new address and turned out to be only a kilometer away (it’s not as though I went door-knocking to find him).
I then contacted a debt-collector and supplied him with the details of the amount owed and contact details, including his residential address. The debt-collector then called him and introduced himself. My “friend” then allegedly stated that he denied the amount owed and would declare bankruptcy. My debt collector insisted that he declare the amount of $45,000 as this was the only amount in which I had paperwork.
He consequently applied for bankruptcy and the notification was received several days afterwards. The bankruptcy was granted on 16th May, 2006.
I tried to put all this behind me and move on, as I assumed that what was done was done, that’s the end of that.
On the morning of 17th June, 2007 (a Sunday) I was bailed up on a street as I was walking home from the shops and threatened physically by him. He also had an accomplice. He screamed abuse at me until he just turned & walked away. I continued home, left the purchase there, then went to a police station to report the incident. I was encouraged by the police NOT to press charges as he was apparently on day release from a local psychiatric hospital as he was deemed to be “non-violent”.
I then started my own investigation into the bankruptcy, starting with the Statement of Affairs (SoA) as submitted to ITSA. It was there that I started to realize that his SoA was full of lies, the only truth being that he spelled his name correctly. He’d tried to register his residential address as a PO box (rejected by ITSA), but decided on a previous address after claiming he had “no fixed abode”. Also, he claimed he’d “sold” the cafe to “UNKNOWN” and this was apparently accepted by ITSA.
Again, I wanted to “move on”, but on the morning of 3rd August, 2008, the elderly lady in the adjoining townhouse came to our townhouse and said that someone had been pressing up against her lounge window and trying to look in. While I didn’t see the individual, her description pretty well matched my “friend”. The police were not called, she didn’t want to call them as he had already left.
This incident convinced me that I should do some more data checking of this alleged bankruptcy and started looking into it further. Shortly afterwards, I had a knock on the door and found a QLD Police detective standing there and wanted to ask me a few questions about any recent contact I’d had with my “friend”. I informed him of the 17th June, 2007 incident. The policeman took the details then gave me a hand-written note detailing his name and contact details. I didn’t mention the 3rd August incident.
I really started to pursue ITSA about all this, and the amount of lies which they’d spewed was incredible. I eventually made claims for financial hardship to the Australian government (through the proper channels) but they kept on claiming that the bankruptcy was all administered legally. I then went to the Ombudsman’s office to complain but they also claim ITSA (now known as the Australian Financial Security Authority, AFSA) have done nothing wrong. It got to the stage that the deputy director of AFSA basically ORDERED me to cease & desist any further communication with any of them. If I found more evidence regarding this, I was only allowed to send it to him and he’d decide whether or not to look further into it. Of course, this is meant to tell me to just “go away”.
The latest nail in the coffin from my perspective was that I was told by local; member that I should hire a legal representation (lawyer) to take this government agency to court. Who can afford that?
And that, ladies & gentlemen, is how the government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Australia treats it’s citizens.
So, a little help? Please.