The conviction of Trevor Lawrence – also known as Trevor Fail – follows an initial investigation by the Insolvency Service and a full criminal investigation and prosecution by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).
Trevor Lawrence, 50, also pleaded guilty to acting as a director whilst a disqualified along with seven other related offences including three counts of fraud. He was sentenced on 14 July 2014 at Northampton Crown Court. The judge also disqualified him from acting as a director for seven years.
Commenting on the sentence, BIS deputy chief investigating officer Ian West said: “This was a particularly blatant example, of offending where members of the public were defrauded of substantial amounts of money, and where enforcement agencies working together have ensured that the perpetrator has been penalised for his crimes.
“Many customers lost substantial amounts of money paid in advance for projects not completed which demonstrates the risk to the public that such an individual poses when they breach orders and undertakings whilst clearly unfit to manage and control such businesses.”
The court heard that Trevor Lawrence was adjudged bankrupt for a second time in July 2007 in the name of Trevor Fail; his previous bankruptcy was in the name Trevor Lawrence. As a result of his bankruptcy, he was not allowed to run a limited company. In September 2007, he had also been disqualified from acting as a director of a limited company for a period of nine years as a result of his conduct as a director of another building company, Silverstar Construction Ltd, which had been wound up in September 2006.
Between July 2007 and June 2011, despite being disqualified, acted as a shadow director and continued to manage building companies, namely Astone Building Solutions Ltd, All Seasons Building Solutions Ltd, Acorn Building & Construction Ltd and Gadsby & Fay Ltd.
It is not suggested that the companies were completely fraudulent. Building work was undertaken but there are insufficient records to determine what proportion of that work was carried out, or not carried out and to what standard.
On behalf of Astone Building Solutions Limited, Trevor Lawrence submitted invoices to one client with a total claim for VAT amounting to £30,000 despite the company never having been registered for VAT.
The last company, Gadsby & Fay Ltd, went into went into administration in June 2011, leaving contractors unpaid to the value of £60,000.
From September 2007, Trevor Lawrence operated as a sole trader under the name of Allbright Building Solutions. He took substantial deposits from two customers, and in breach of his bankruptcy restrictions, used a name other than that which he had been adjudged bankrupt and failed to inform them of his bankruptcy status. As with the limited companies, he failed to progress the building works and two customers lost £30,800 between them.
Mr Lawrence was sentenced to 27 months for each fraud act offence, to run concurrently and a total of 8 months for the Company Director’s Disqualification Act (CDDA) 1986 and Insolvency Act offences to also run concurrently: a total of 27 months.
BIS has started confiscation proceedings against Mr Lawrence.