Man who gambled £800,000 receives bankruptcy restriction order

A man from Lockerbie who gambled away a massive £800,000 over a two-year period has received notice of a bankruptcy restriction order which could impact upon the future life of Graeme Calvert. The case was taken to the courts where the sheriff in charge awarded a bankruptcy restriction order which will effectively restrict Mr Calvert’s access to credit, access to business and the type employment he can take in the future.

Background to the case

It is believed that the accused received £400,000 from Dumfries & Galloway Council which was meant to pay VAT bills on a nursing home he ran. However, when the Scotland insolvency service became involved it very quickly became apparent that over £800,000 had been gambled away over a two-year period. This included the £400,000 which the defendant had received from the council in relation to VAT bills on the nursing home.

Gambling is one of the few activities which can be subjected to a bankruptcy restriction order and the order will last for nine years in this case and could have a major impact upon Mr Calvert’s life.

What is a bankruptcy restriction order?

Effectively a bankruptcy restriction order is granted when the defendant is accused of living an extravagant lifestyle or gambling away funds which could have been used to pay off creditors. In this case the order will last for nine years and restrict access to credit, business opportunities and most alarmingly it does also give the authorities the legal right to alert potential creditors and employers in the future about the individuals “inappropriate” behaviour.

The seriousness of this particular situation should not be underestimated because while bankruptcy regulations are in place to help those who are struggling to pay their debts, they do not reward those who have lived an extravagant lifestyle or gambled away their funds only to expect their creditors to pick up the tab. It is interesting that this particular case has received widespread publicity at a time when bankruptcies, trustees and other forms of debt management are becoming more commonplace than ever before. Are the authorities trying to send out a message that legal bankruptcy petitions will be honoured while those who have been seen to live an extravagant lifestyle or gamble with their funds will receive further restrictions?

Accountant in bankruptcy

The accountant in bankruptcy is effectively in charge of all bankruptcies in Scotland and they can, as in this particular case, apply to the court for further restrictions if they feel appropriate. The case will go before a sheriff who will rule on the merits of the case and in this particular instance a nine-year restriction order was put in place. In effect the accountant in bankruptcy can apply for any type of restriction they see relevant to the case and there is no standard restriction period.

This particular case also shows that the accountant in bankruptcy in Scotland is very much on the ball and more than willing to recover old bankruptcy agreements if there have been abuses of the system. This will be a welcome announcement for creditors, especially banks, across the UK who have seen a massive increase in bankruptcies and other arrangements over the last few years. Whether or not we will see other bankruptcy agreements brought back for further consideration remains to be seen.

Abuse the system and you will pay the price

There are various failsafe systems in place in Scotland which include bankruptcy, trust deeds as well as debt arrangement schemes which are available to assist those in serious financial trouble. It will depend purely and simply upon your financial situation as to which of the various arrangements is applicable and as we have mentioned on numerous occasions it is vital that you take professional financial advice as soon as possible.

As soon as you approach a professional financial adviser about your situation you should be made aware of the various pros and cons of the above debt repayment arrangements. Bankruptcy is obviously the most serious of the arrangements available and it would be preferable for both creditors and the individuals involved to try and arrange some kind of formal repayment plan. This may see the debtor repay only a small percentage of the overall debts but it can help to protect various aspects of your financial life going forward.

Can you reduce your spending in times of trouble?

Aside from those deemed to have been living an extravagant lifestyle or indeed been caught up in the gambling arena, there are many people who fall into financial difficulties having failed to rein in their spending in times of trouble. No matter what situation you are in there will be ways in which you can reduce your outgoings even in the short term and potentially at least partly rectify your financial troubles. There are some situations where tinkering with your monthly budget will not make a difference whatsoever and these are situations where you should seek financial advice.

However, if you’re feeling the pinch then you do need to look at your budget, your outgoings and your income and decide whether there are any savings to be made. If you can make savings in the short to medium term this may allow the economy to improve and hopefully the employment situation to follow suit, which will give you a better chance of rectifying your financial situation. However, sometimes there is no point in banging your head against a brick wall and if your situation is such that you are not able to afford your everyday basic living expenses and repay part of your debt then you do need to address the situation sooner rather than later.

Conclusion

While many people automatically assume that bankruptcy is available to anybody who has debt which they are unable to pay off, the situation is slightly different for those deemed to have been extravagant in their lifestyle or perhaps have spent significant amounts of money on gambling. These two later situations can lead to extended bankruptcy restriction orders which will limit access to credit, employment options and will even give the authorities the right to advise creditors or future employers about your extravagant lifestyle in the past.

In reality if you abuse the system then you will be made to pay the price, play the system the way it was set up and you will be okay.

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