Three directors of a lap dancing club based in Newquay have been sentenced for a series of accounting failures over a two year period which came to light when the company they ran went into liquidation, owing HMRC £240,000 in VAT.
Ross Connock, Matthew Sharp and Richard Taylor, who owned Divas Gentlemen’s Club pleaded guilty to failure to keep proper accounting records between January 2008 and January 2010. Connock also admitted a further charge of false accounting in the same period.
They were directors of RMR Newquay Ltd. The company name stands for Ross, Matthew and Richard, and it was incorporated in 2003 when Connock and Sharp were registered as the two directors. Taylor registered as the third director in February 2004. The company went into liquidation in 2010.
Taylor and Sharp were sentenced to four months in prison each suspended for two years at Exeter Crown Court.
In his summing up Judge Carr said: This is a case of a company which had been run for many years with a woeful disregard of basic accounting. Accounts were produced for 2004, 2005 and 2006 but 2007 accounts were only prepared in 2009 and there were no accounts for 2008 or 2009. Both of you were directors and were aware of the responsibility.’
Carr said: ‘This was predominantly a cash business, which brings even greater responsibility on directors to ensure correct accounting.’
After the hearing, John Pearson, investigation officer for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), said calculations indicated the turnover of the business, which was largely a cash operation, was at least £1m in each year, but that there were no accounts available.
Pearson said: ‘It is important that company directors ensure their company accounts are accurate and kept up to date, particularly so in a cash-based business such as a nightclub. Failure to do this is not only a criminal offence but means that, as in this case, crown debts are not paid and other creditors suffer.’