Respondents to both this site and Dave Walker’s recent related posts (Dave’s Backup Site | Dave’s Main Site) are asking searching questions about the legitimacy of SSG’s apparent filing for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy, by definition, is when a debtor is declared – either by creditors or his own account – legally insolvent. His property is liquidated and divided among his creditors to pay his debts. But when a debtor falsely claims bankruptcy, attempts to conceal his assets, launches petition mills or files multiple claims, he is committing bankruptcy fraud – a federal offense.
Types of Bankruptcy Fraud
Concealment of assets, petition mills, and multiple filings are the most common types of bankruptcy fraud.
Concealment of Assets
Concealment of assets accounts for nearly 70 percent of all fraudulent bankruptcy cases filed by individuals. This type of fraud occurs when a person purposely fails to list every one of his assets on his bankruptcy claim, knowing that creditors cannot liquidate valuables of which they are not aware. Similarly, business owners frequently conceal assets when filing for bankruptcy – they transfer money or properties to their relatives’ or associates’ names so that the assets cannot be confiscated.
Observations over the weekend from ‘justflyingkites’ certainly seem to support this possibility and raise the further question of whether filing for bankruptcy in the USA can, in any case, apply to SSG as a UK registered charity:
According to advice from USDAW (they say they have not had enough time to research thoroughly) a charity registered in Britain cannot be made insolvent through the American courts. USDAW has discovered that the ENC management company consists of the Brewer brothers and one of their wives.
As for hiding their assets – the two independent shops have been told to deposit takings in a new bank account in the name of Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust.
Whatever eventually emerges, one thing seems sure: the Brewers’ behaviour — in their treatment of their staff, in their general communications and in their business dealings — falls far short of the standards of honesty and integrity one might hope to expect from a Christian organisation. This is nothing new, of course: the history of Christianity is littered with examples of abuse and devious dealings done, supposedly, in the name of Christ. I find myself wondering if Spencer Burke has the right of it when he says:
Maybe the greatest gift the Christian religion can offer the world right now is to remove itself from the battle for God. Perhaps it’s time to release the claim to universal privilege it grants itself as the only “true religion”.
(p.48, A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity)
On the other hand, I find myself somehow not yet ready to roll over and die, to concede defeat to the likes of the Brewers. Perhaps as Steph, another respondent here, has commented, I am naive, but I’d sooner go down in history as naive than silent. I am also uncomfortably aware of Jesus’ remarks about judging others, but again, are we not called to speak out against injustice and dishonesty when we see it? Again, I do not consider silence to be an option.
As last time, watch this space…