A bankrupt has been handed a suspended prison term after he tried to avoid paying his creditors, claiming he had burned nearly £70,000.
David Harry Lowes-Bird, from Trimsaran, Kidwelly, was found guilty on Wednesday 13 February 2019 of one count of fraudulent removal of property contrary to the Insolvency Act 1986. At Swansea Crown Court, he was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months.
Over the course of a three-day trial, the court heard that David Lowes-Bird was involved in a protracted legal dispute with a firm of insolvency practitioners. But he lost the case in November 2014 and was ordered by the courts to pay £30,000 in costs.
However, David Lowes-Bird had substantial debts and was unable to pay the insolvency practitioners. This resulted in him accepting a Bankruptcy Restriction Undertaking on 25 February 2016, lasting nine years, after the insolvency practitioners from Stones & Co 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 from receiving it.
While giving evidence in court, David 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 to support his claim.
Upon sentence, Recorder Mills said that David 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.”