A woman who squandered more than £3.5 million ($4.35 million) while spread betting and lied about her debts to escape bankruptcy was spared prison on Friday after being found guilty of making a false representation.
Gambling Her Way Out of Debt
Juliana ‘Leah’ Posman, a 43-year-old Indonesian-born businesswoman accumulated huge debts while catering to her gambling addiction of betting on the movements of the German DAX stock market index, and then lied to her creditors about her debt, reported Daily Mail.
Seeking to avoid bankruptcy, Posman signed an individual voluntary arrangement with her creditors to repay her debts over time but deliberately failed to declare that she already had £91,646.93 debt with her previous broker, CMC Spread Bet, while continuing to spread bet with another.
Arrested and charged with making a false representation for the purpose of obtaining approval of creditors, Posman appeared before Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex on Friday.
Andrew Herd, prosecuting, claimed that Posman’s action was “a calculated omission” as not including the information about her debt even when advised to make a full disclosure was “motivated by the financial and practical benefits of avoiding bankruptcy.”
A spokesperson for the Insolvency Service stated that Posman “sought to flagrantly abuse the bankruptcy process and leave creditors out of pocket by taking out the individual voluntary arrangement without disclosing the significant debt from her gambling account.”
“This is a serious offense and her conviction should serve as a warning to anyone else that trying to escape debts in this way is wholly unacceptable,” the Insolvency Service spokesperson concluded.
After jurors unanimously found her guilty of a single charge of making a false representation, Judge Stephen Mooney sentenced her to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. Mooney also ordered Posman to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and attend 20 hours of rehabilitation related to her gambling addiction.
She seems to be addicted to spread betting which is very high risk and she tried to gamble her way out of it. That’s a classic trait in someone who is addicted to gambling.
Judge Stephen Mooney
Posman Fleeced Her Husband and Parents-in-Law
For Posman, who is the ex-wife of Christopher Forte, a distant relative of the Forte hotel family, falling into debt is nothing new as her gambling addiction began showing its ugly head soon after her marriage in 2014 when she began asking her husband for large sums of money.
She claimed she needed the money to build her bank account with assets of her own but in 2016 her husband received a letter informing him that she had borrowed £2.5 million ($3.1 million) and had told her lenders that he would guarantee the loans for which he knew nothing about.
Posman then admitted she had lost several million while spread betting and had given £250,000 ($310,500) to her parents and £750,000 ($931,500) to her brother. Moved by her tearful pleas for money, her husband had lent her £45,000 ($55,890) while his parents had lent her their life savings, £131,330 ($163,111).
Following the couple’s divorce in 2017, Posman pledged to return the money by paying £1,700 a month.