To her 1.2 million Facebook fans, Bianca Cheah’s carefully cultivated life looks enviable. But the social media ‘influencer’ has been declared bankrupt.
To her 1.2 million Facebook fans, Bianca Cheah’s carefully cultivated life looks enviable. But the social media ‘influencer’ has been declared bankrupt.

Influencer bankrupted over massive debt

She hoodwinked investors by cooking the books of her wellness website, now glamorous social media influencer Bianca Cheah has been declared bankrupt.

In 2019, the NSW Supreme Court ordered Ms Cheah and her husband Simon Chalmers to pay the former Australian boss of investment bank Lazard Garren Cronin and his wife Emma more than $1 million after engaging in "misleading or deceptive conduct".

Ms Cheah, who moved to Los Angeles from Sydney in 2016, and Mr Chalmers were found to have inflated the revenue of their digital publishing, marketing and advertising business, Sporteluxe, using income she got from the International Management Group for work as a model and influencer.

Simon Chalmers and Bianca Cheah. Picture: Supplied
Simon Chalmers and Bianca Cheah. Picture: Supplied

The court accepted the Cronins' claim that they relied on the dodgy revenue figures in deciding to buy $1.07m worth of shares in Sporteluxe in 2017.

That civil legal action was brought via Mr Cronin's private business Cadence Investments.

Ms Cheah and Mr Chalmers did not defend the proceedings, saying they did not have the "financial means" to do so after running up big medical bills after complications during the birth of their first child.

Neither of them has been criminally charged.

In September 2019, Cadence was issued with a bankruptcy notice against Ms Cheah.

She was served in LA on February 16 last year and given 21 days to pay.

Influencer Bianca Cheah. Picture: Adam Head
Influencer Bianca Cheah. Picture: Adam Head

 

Bianca Cheah at an event in Martin Place. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Bianca Cheah at an event in Martin Place. Picture: Jonathan Ng

On February 19, Ms Cheah, who has 1.2m Facebook followers, flew to Australia with her six-month-old son to visit family.

She left on March 9 - which was the deadline to clear the debt to Cadence - without having paid.

"Ms Cheah did not comply with the requirements of the bankruptcy notice," the Federal Circuit Court said in a recently published judgment.

"That means Ms Cheah committed an act of bankruptcy on 9 March 2020, being the last day by which she could have complied with the requirements of the bankruptcy notice."

Bianca Cheah. Picture: Instagram
Bianca Cheah. Picture: Instagram

 

Garren and Emma Cronin.
Garren and Emma Cronin.

The court ordered her estate be sequestrated, meaning she is now bankrupt.

Her estate will be administered by a trustee, PKF's Bradley Tonks, for the benefit of creditors.

Mr Cronin told The Daily Telegraph he hoped Mr Tonks would have a better chance of "tracking down the debts.

Ms Cheah and Mr Chalmers' lawyer said the potential for an appeal was being explored.

"The continued goal is to reach an amicable resolution in the future," the lawyer said.

Mr Tonks noted that "bankrupts are afforded the opportunity to seek a review of bankruptcy orders".

He said while he couldn't go "into the specifics, I am not aware of any such application" by Ms Cheah.

Originally published as Influencer bankrupted over $1m+ debt


Bunnings hero: Bravery medal for burning car rescue

Premium Content Bunnings hero: Bravery medal for burning car rescue

Northern Rivers man awarded bravery medal for rescuing a man from a burning car.

‘It sounded like someone was being murdered’

Premium Content ‘It sounded like someone was being murdered’

Irish backpackers' complaints soon took on a more sinister tone