The business of a Victorian woman who received more than $61,000 from generous Australians after a video of her lockdown plight went viral had been broke before Covid-19 even hit.
Carly Soderstrom’s cry for help last week garnered national attention and saw a GoFundMe page erected by a kindly Victorian quickly earn her $61,119 before it was abruptly stopped.
The 35-year old’s video had tugged at the heart strings of generous Australians, who put their hands in their pockets for the sole trader.
Carly Soderstrom’s cry for help last week garnered national attention and saw a GoFundMe page quickly earn $61,119
Carly Soderstrom’s business went broke before Covid-19 even hit Australia
Ms Soderstrom, who operated a photography business in Torquay, 60km from Melbourne, had claimed Victoria’s fifth lockdown was responsible for her business failing.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal Ms Soderstrom’s business had failed long before Victoria was hit with a single lockdown.
Her business, 21, 15, Nine, had been placed into external administration – akin to company bankruptcy – on January 16 last year after struggling through 2019.
As the sole director of the company, Ms Soderstrom was left with about $3000 in stock, a Jeep Wrangler and debts totalling $406,152.
Of that, $386,542 was owed to unsecured creditors, including ordinary Victorians who had provided either goods, services or cash to Ms Soderstrom.
One man was left $220,000 out of pocket by her failed business.
When liquidators came in last year, Ms Soderstrom owed the Australian Tax Office a whopping $64,603 – a little under the amount she has just received from struggling Australians.
Ms Soderstrom hung up the phone when contacted by Daily Mail Australia on Friday.
Founder of the Just Be Nice Project, Josh Reid Jones, exposed Ms Soderstrom in a video that is now going viral in its own right.
The charity leader accessed Ms Soderstrom’s business records from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission upon watching the kindness of Australians directed to the struggling business owner.
A GoFundMe page set up for Carly Soderstrom by a well wisher earned her more than $61,000
Dog Act: Carly Soderstrom has come under fire for claiming Covid was behind her failed business
Mr Jones claimed as the sole director of a failed business, Ms Soderstrom ought not have been trading throughout the pandemic at all.
He further suggested her company had been guilty of the cardinal sin of failed business in trading while insolvent.
‘Trading while insolvent is illegal. You’re not allowed to do it, but the books and accounting don’t appear to have been passed over during the process of the liquidation proceeding. So it’s unclear,’ he said.
However a preliminary view offered by the administrator stated: ‘given the quantum of creditors’ claims and there being minimal realisable assets, the company was likely trading while insolvent’.
While Mr Jones accepted legitimate companies were struggling under lockdown, Ms Soderstrom’s business was already well and truly cooked before the pandemic hit, he claimed.
Josh Reid Jones exposed Ms Soderstrom in a video that is now going viral in its own right.
Carly Soderstrom’s photography business was doomed before the pandemic struck Australia
‘So this person that is claiming to be the representative of small business and the every man, freedom and all these sorts of things, is also the person that has wound up a company while owing $400,000 just at the beginning of 2020 as we go into one of the most challenging economic periods for a lot of families, individuals and small businesses,’ he said.
Mr Jones further asserted Ms Soderstrom had then set up another studio and gone on holidays.
‘After liquidating a company that was unable to pay the people or companies that it had been purchasing things from to the tune of $400,000 and then asked for money from people who out of the goodness of their hearts have reached into their pockets and contributed,’ he said.
‘I just think that there are so many people, so many places that would benefit from that.’
Daily Mail Australia can reveal GoFundMe has been notified of Ms Soderstrom’s situation and is investigating with a view to return all of the funds that were donated by Australians.
Mr Jones has been contacted by Daily Mail Australia.