Thomas Joseph McLoughlin, a disqualified company director has been sentenced to a total of 14 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to two counts of breaching his disqualification and failing to turn up in court, following a hearing at Isleworth Crown Court.
The convictions follow an initial investigation by the Insolvency Service and a full criminal investigation and prosecution by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Mr McLoughlin (57) was sentenced to 12 months in jail for running Hamilton Aviation Limited which operated charter flights for private clients and Hamilton Capital Group Limited - business support company which assisted Hamilton Aviation - while disqualified. He also jailed for two months for breaking bail conditions and disqualified for 10 years. Both jail sentences run concurrently.
The investigation showed that in 2005 Mr McLoughlin was disqualified from acting as a director of a company or in the management of any company for 10 years.
However, in order to fund his extravagant lifestyle and meet pressing creditors, he started a private aircraft charter company knowing this would provide him with a means of obtaining credit.
The investigation showed that the Royal Bank of Scotland opened business accounts for both Hamilton Aviation Limited and Hamilton Capital Group Limited and soon afterwards, Mr McLoughlin began to use the company credit cards to finance what appeared to be personal expenses.
The level of debt incurred could clearly not be supported by the companies income. In fact, the companies, appear to have only ever conducted one sale.
However, Mr McLoughlin obtained as much credit as he could from the Hamilton companies.. As a result of his actions, creditors remain out of pocket. The companies are still registered but have ceased trading.
The investigation also showed that the defendant had been the registered director of VIP Chauffeur Solutions Limited from 2001 until the company went into liquidation on 28 October 2002. Following the liquidation, the Secretary of State obtained a 10-year disqualification order against him from 21 February 2005.
By 2009, Mr McLoughlin was in severe money difficulties but was not prepared to downgrade the lifestyle he had become accustomed to. Using money obtained from his sister, he paid a rental deposit on a million pound property, at 14 Princes Gate Mews, London, SW7 2PS. He agreed to pay rent of 3,041.67 per month but he had no obvious means by which to meet this liability and by 23 July 2009 he was already in arrears of 6,083.34.
It was at this point that he developed the idea of running a company. He knew he could not register a company in his name as he was already subject to a disqualification order. He therefore asked an acquaintance to form the companies for him.
He misled this acquaintance by falsely claiming to be wealthy and telling him he did not want his name directly involved with the companies, alleging he was on gardening leave and that it would cause problems with his former employer. As a result, the acquaintance incorporated two companies on Mr McLoughlins behalf.
In addition to the conviction, BIS asked that two perjury offences lie in the court file.
Commenting on the sentence, Detective Chief Investigating Officer, Glenn Wicks from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, said:
The court has shown that anyone who ignores the law, as Thomas McLoughlin has done, can expect a heavy prison sentence.
Mr McLoughlin is a serial offender and his conduct as a director was so poor in his previous company that he was disqualified from being a director for 10 years. However, he chose to completely ignore that order and continued to act as a director in two companies in order to fund his lavish lifestyle.