Commenting on the case Claire Entwistle, Director of Investigations North at the Insolvency Service, said: “This was asset-stripping aimed at keeping the money these people owed firmly in their own pockets.
June Rees, formerly of Kirkheaton, Huddersfield, was banned from managing or in any way controlling a company for her conduct as a director of two companies, Worth Products Limited (“Worth”) and Theme Venture Limited (“Theme”). Jody Wilson, 36, also of Kirkheaton, Huddersfield, was banned for four years for her conduct as a director of Theme.
Investigators found that Worth Products Limited traded from May 2004 to May 2008 as a manufacturer of UPVC window frames from Wellington Road Industrial Estate in Leeds. Worth was placed into administration on 23 June 2008 with assets of £25,000 and liabilities of £1,526,399.
The second company, Theme Venture Limited, traded from April 2008 to April 2009 as a manufacturer of UPVC window frames and foiled products from Newbridge Industrial Estate in Keighley and Hoyer Industrial Estate in Huddersfield. Theme went into liquidation on 15 May 2009 with assets of £9,314 and liabilities of at least £487,710, including at least £186,000 owed to HM Revenue & Customs in unpaid tax.
The court found that Ms Rees, who is believed to be living abroad, transferred rights to receive payments relating to a window system from Worth Products Limited to Theme Venture Limited after Worth had entered into administration. This transfer was made without the knowledge or consent of the administrators and meant fewer assets were available to pay Worth’s creditors. Sums of money totalling £716,141, which should have been paid to Worth, were diverted to Theme.
The court also found that Ms Rees and Ms Wilson subsequently caused Theme to transfer rights to receive payments relating to the window system to a third, successor company of which Ms Rees was a director, for no reimbursement in return, shortly before Theme entered into liquidation. Sums of money totalling £306,593 which should have been paid to Theme were diverted to the successor company.
Ms Rees and Ms Wilson also caused payments of £85,149 due to Theme not to be paid into Theme’s bank account, and failed to provide details of where the money had gone. In addition, they caused payments of £91,125 to be made by Theme to a business in the USA controlled by a member of their family, for which Theme held no relevant purchase invoices.
Claire Entwistle of Investigations North at the Insolvency Service added: “This mother and daughter duo thought they could move money from company to company, and even abroad, to avoid paying their creditors. The court’s decision shows that we will not hesitate to investigate wrong-doing and sends a clear message to businesses that we will take appropriate enforcement action to maintain business confidence”.