Kleenmaid directors to face criminal charges in November

After first appearing in Maroochydore Magistrates court in February 2012 to face a total of 58 charges related to the collapse of the Kleenmaid cooking appliance brand, Kleenmaid’s three former directors have had a date set for a committal hearing in November this year.

Former Kleenmaid directors Andrew Young, Bradley Young and Gary Armstrong were each charged with 18 counts of criminal insolvent trading, while the two Young brothers were also charged with 2 additional counts of fraud.

According to a summary statement released by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on 16 February 2012, the trio were charged  with “criminal insolvent trading of debts totalling more than $4 million and a $13 million fraud committed on Westpac Bank,” while the Youngs were also “accused of withdrawing $330,000 from the company’s bank accounts two days before it went into voluntary administration”.

Since the charges were first brought, the case has been in and out of the Maroochydore and Brisbane Magistrates Courts with a total of eight court mentions and subsequent adjournments over the course of 2012 and 2013.

At the most recent court mention on 13 June 2013, it was decided “the matter would be listed for a 3 week committal hearing in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court, starting 18 November 2013”.

Appliance Retailer understands the committal hearing is part of the process of deciding if the case will be heard in the Magistrates Court, or if it is deemed a more serious matter that must progress to the District or Supreme Court.

Although not necessarily required to attend court for the case mentions, Andrew and Bradley Young and Gary Armstrong will be required to appear for the November committal hearing.

After entering into administration in 2009, the troubled history of the Kleenmaid brand has been revealed. Administrators at Deloitte tallied up a total of $76 million owed by Kleenmaid to creditors, claiming that the company had traded while insolvent for more than two years and that Andrew Young had written off more than $400,000 worth of “boat expenses” on the company books. In 2009, Police were also called out to the company’s offices after it was discovered that the Young brothers had attempted to remove sensitive documents from the property.

Speaking for the Andrew and Bradley Young after their court appearance last year, the brothers’ lawyer John Rivett said the pair were “deeply regretful” about what had happened to the company.

“They tried their hardest to rescue it, at great personal sacrifice in a lot of ways – physically and emotionally and financially,” he said. “They’ve suffered too. They’re both bankrupt and they’re now having to work on wages and commissions to try and keep the food on the table.

“I guess they would admit that maybe the [Kleenmaid business] model wasn’t the best in the circumstances. We all learn from history.”

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