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Bankrupt butcher misled lender about stash of gold

A bankrupt Auckland butcher pleaded guilty to making a false statement about having a stash of gold bars worth some $150,000 when applying for credit.

Sushil Kumar Sharma is awaiting sentence having admitted managing a business while bankrupt, fraudulently removing property, concealing property, misleading the Official Assignee (OA) and making a false statement to creditors.

According to a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment spokesman, the latter charge related to a credit application he made to a finance company during which he said he had $150,000 worth of gold bars.

Sharma, of Mt Roskill, was adjudicated bankrupt in June 2015 after operating a south Auckland butchery business which incurred significant debts.

The OA, which brought the charges, said in a statement that in the years leading up to his bankruptcy, Sharma transferred significant personal assets, including four cars (one being a Jeep Wrangler) and deposits of about $141,000, to his family members and a family trust.

"This caused significant harm to the creditors in his bankruptcy, as it deprived them of assets that would otherwise have been used to satisfy Mr Sharma's debts," said OA Ross van der Schyff.

After being declared bankrupt, Sharma continued his meat trading business through a company directed by his daughter, while obtaining further credit from various other meat supply companies.

He operated this business using one of the vehicles he had previously fraudulently transferred to a trust controlled by his wife, the OA said.

A bankrupt person is prohibited from taking part in the management of any business without the consent of the OA, the body which manages personal insolvencies.

He was also a signatory to this company's bank account, and concealed some $113,000 in earnings from the OA.

"While Mr Sharma was busy lying about his employment, income, and what property he had transferred to his family trust, the earnings he concealed could have been used to meet what was owed to his creditors," van der Schyff said.

The charges to which he pleaded guilty were managing a business while bankrupt, fraudulently removing property, concealing property, making a false statement to creditors and misleading the OA.

"Mr Sharma offended in a serious and blatant way," van der Schyff said.

"Mr Sharma's case should serve as a strong deterrent to any persons who are considering acting in breach of their bankruptcy restrictions."

Sharma is also known as Shushil Kumar Sharma, or Jim Sharma.

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