Two directors and a former solicitor have been banned for 21 years after conspiring to remove close to £700,000 worth of property from a failed caravan company using forged sales documents
Liberty Durant, Joseph Price and David Borland appeared at Lincoln Crown Court where in addition to the director disqualifications, they received suspended prison sentences.
The court heard that Classic Caravans Ltd, based in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, was incorporated in November 2008, and manufactured and serviced caravans.
Price became the sole director in December 2010 but at the beginning of October 2012 the company ceased trading with debts of close to £220,000, triggering an insolvency process to close down the business.
Classic Caravans nominal work in progress was transferred to a new company, Carlight Trailers Ltd, where Price was one of the directors and the sole shareholder was Durant.
The day before Classic Caravans entered into formal liquidation, Price informed the liquidator that Durant owned a significant amount of Classic Caravans’ stock. This meant property totalling approximately £693,000 could not be returned as assets to the company’s creditors.
The case was referred to the Insolvency Service where investigators found that Durant had previously been disqualified in 2011 for six years in relation to a separate company and should not have been acting in the management of a company.
Investigators also found that before Classic Caravans was going to be wound-up, Durant and Price had conspired with former solicitor Borland, trading under the name DAB Legal Services, to produce a fraudulent ‘contract of sale’.
The fake sales contract enabled Durant to claim ‘retention of title’ on Classic Caravans stock that should have been used by the liquidator to repay the company’s creditors.
However, the sales contract was falsely back-dated to 2010, two years before the company entered into liquidation, and was proved fraudulent as one of the copies of the contract included the liquidator’s address, someone who had only been appointed in 2012.
At court Durant was given a 10-year disqualification order, a £1,000 fine and a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to one count of acting in contravention of a disqualification order and one count of fraud.
Price was given a six-year disqualification order, a £1,000 fine and a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to one count of fraud.
Borland received a five-year disqualification order, a £1,000 fine and 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to one count of fraud.
Glenn Wicks, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: ‘These men cynically and ruthlessly used a forged document in an attempt to defraud creditors and to allow Liberty Durant to act as a shadow director in breach of his disqualification. The court has shown this sort of behaviour will be dealt with severely.’
Report by Pat Sweet