Director of Home improvement company sentenced

Matthews, who is already subject to a five-year Bankruptcy Restrictions Undertaking, was sentenced after pleading guilty to the removal of property after an order or judgement for money had been obtained, which remained unsatisfied at the date of bankruptcy. Specifically, he spent money that should have been paid to his creditors, on a new car and on family holidays, among other things.

Mr Matthews was the director of Heathcroft Homes Improvements Ltd (‘Heathcroft’), through which he worked as a fitter.

The court heard that, upon the winding-up of Heathcroft in 2009, Mr Matthews became liable for the company’s debts as a result of personal guarantees he had given to trade creditors. However, despite being served with a court judgement relating to these debts, he failed to pay these creditors following the sale of his family home. Instead, he transferred the funds to his partner and the funds were never recovered.

The court heard that Matthews spent some of the funds on advance rent and general living expenses for his family.

The court was shown bank statements revealing that Mr Matthews bought a car for £5,500 and paid £3,000 for a holidays for various family members. The bank accounts also revealed numerous transactions between Matthews’; account and a new business, H I Solutions, owned by his partner, through which he continued to provide his services as a window fitter. Funds were not used to satisfy either Matthews’ trade or personal creditors.

As a consequence of his actions, Mr Matthews’ creditors have lost out to the tune of almost £24,000.

Commenting on the case, Stephen Speed, Chief Executive of The Insolvency Service said:

"People genuinely struggling with debt who want to benefit from the debt relief arrangements offered by the insolvency regime must be prepared to declare all of their assets or face the penalty imposed on them. It is for the Official Receiver to decide which assets should be sold for the benefit of the creditors and which may be retained by the debtor."

Commenting on the case, Ian West, an investigator with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said:

"Mr Matthews’ sentence sends a clear message to bankrupts who fail to keep to the terms of their bankruptcy order. We can and will investigate bankrupts, and where appropriate, take action when we find evidence of them deliberately acting to the detriment of their creditors".

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