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Advice on bankruptcy could have helped an Exeter man to avoid a 12-month jail term for failing to properly disclose the contents of his bank accounts while in bankruptcy.

On August 31st 2010, Michael Gerard Sheehy of Exeter was declared bankrupt, owing over £58,000 in total.

In the two months before HM Revenue & Customs was able to obtain a county court judgment to recoup the owed debts and taxes, he removed £3,500 from his accounts.

After the CCJ, but before the full bankruptcy order was granted, he removed a further £21,800.

Even after a bankruptcy order was in place, he removed an additional £12,300 from his accounts.

While bankrupt, Mr Sheehy had a reported positive account balance of between £26,676.85 and £38,976.85 held in a Santander account.

During sentencing at Exeter Crown Court, Mr Sheehy was handed concurrent terms of 12 months in jail for each offence with which he was charged.

Liam Mannall, deputy chief investigation officer from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, says: “The sentence should serve as a reminder to those considering such actions that the consequences are severe.”

It is also a timely reminder, during the current protracted economic turbulence, of the importance of advice on bankruptcy if you are unclear on your obligations, as any failure to follow the rules can have major repercussions.