Giuseppe Catalano was on Monday charged with obtaining services and failing to disclose his bankruptcy, after he enrolled his son at a private school and committed to the school’s fees without informing them he had an undischarged bankruptcy.
Mr Catalano, who pleaded guilty at Melbourne Magistrates Court, was fined $2,500 and has been ordered to make a restitution payment to the school worth nearly $20,000.
He first declared bankruptcy in 1997 by court order, and failed to submit a Statement of Affairs, which will see his bankruptcy status maintained until his Statement of Affairs has been received and accepted by the Official Receiver.
Mr Catalano later filed for bankruptcy a second time in February 2015, when he legally acknowledged his obligation to notify a supplier that he had an undischarged bankruptcy, at which point he already owed his son’s school almost $30,000.
AFSA deputy chief executive Gavin McCosker stressed the importance of transparency, even when facing financial difficulty.
“Being in financial difficulty can be an incredibly stressful time in an individual’s life,” Mr McCosker said.
“However, this does not excuse poor behaviour and failing to comply with your obligations.
“If you have entered into personal insolvency, it’s important to adhere to the requirements — and failing to do so can result in criminal charges, as has occurred in this case.”
The magistrate noted Mr Catalano’s guilty plea, balanced against the need for targeted or general deterrent measures, and decided he be charged with a fine and restitution order, payable to the school.
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John Buckley is a journalist at Accountants Daily.
Before joining the team in 2021, John worked at The Sydney Morning Herald. His reporting has featured in a range of outlets including The Washington Post, The Age, and The Saturday Paper.