Director banned over £19m investment failure

The boss of a holiday parks firm has been banned for 14 years after the Insolvency Service discovered investors were owed more than £19m in a failed investment scheme involving luxury lodges

Simon Moir, from Harlow, was appointed as a director of Walsham Chalet Park Ltd in 1998. The company, trading as Dream Lodge Group, operated eight holiday parks located across several sites in England, offering luxury rentals including lodges with facilities such as indoor swimming pools and spas.

It also ran an investment scheme whereby people could invest in a part or an entire holiday chalet and would receive returns based on the holiday rental income.

However, after a period of financial pressures the company began to struggle, and in January 2019 Walsham Chalet Park entered into administration before being placed into creditors voluntary liquidation in the following September, owing just over £23m to some 1,100 creditors.

This included £340,000 to HMRC, £2m to suppliers as well as sums to people who had paid in advance to book holidays at their parks and chalets.

Deloitte, who handled the administration, brought the holiday parks company to the attention of the Insolvency Service.

Investigations established that £19.4m was owed to investors after the company’s insolvency. This included £14.2m of investments owed to 161 people who had paid Walsham Chalet Park to invest in holiday chalets that were never built.

The Insolvency Service said that despite securing funds from investors, Moir should have been aware that the lodges had not been built and that there was little or no prospect of them being completed.

Further enquiries established that 30 investors had paid the holiday park company £1.8m to invest in chalets at Coleford Park, Whitecliff, Gloucestershire. Moir, however, should have been aware that the company did not own this site.

In addition, Moir was found to have instructed Walsham Chalet Park’s employees to send false accounts to the company’s bank in order to secure the bank’s continued support.

Sue Macleod, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: ‘Simon Moir presided over a scheme where people thought they were investing in holiday chalets with the promise of generous financial returns.

‘But it was nothing more than a ruse and Simon Moir’s actions have caused substantial losses to investors, many of whom have lost their life savings.

‘Thanks to Deloitte’s assistance with our investigations, Simon Moir has been banned for 14 years. This is a significant period of disqualification, just a year under the maximum term, and will ensure no more investors will be victim to his schemes.’

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