Eoin Frederick Murray, aged 53, a bankrupt and disqualified director from Torquay, was sentenced on 15 July to a total of 21 months imprisonment at Plymouth Crown Court after pleading guilty to acting in the management of limited companies whilst a disqualified director.
David John Constable, aged 68, from Buckfastleigh, pleaded guilty to 4 counts of aiding and abetting Mr Murray in the management of two companies and was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment with 150 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay 1,000 prosecution costs.
Mr Murray and Mr Constables convictions follow an initial investigation by the Insolvency Service and a criminal investigation and prosecution by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Mr Murray was in the construction business. He had provided undertakings in December 2006 and October 2007, for 6 and 9 years respectively, not to act as a director or to be concerned in the promotion, formation or management of a company. In addition he had been made bankrupt (for the third time) on 10 January 2011.
Mr Murray claimed to be merely an employee of the companies concerned, but in fact played a leading role in their formation and management. Mr Constable was appointed director as cover for Mr Murray and allowed him to continue to wield authority within the companies, principally South Devon Construction SW Limited.
A feature of Mr Murrays trading style was to routinely issue cheques to those working for him and to suppliers knowing there were insufficient funds to cover them. He was also in the habit of issuing cheques which he then stopped before presentation or clearing, to avoid satisfying debts.
Mr Murray pleaded guilty to 3 counts of acting in the management of a company whilst disqualified, 2 counts of acting in the management of a company whilst an undischarged bankrupt and 7 counts of fraud by false representation, relating to a number of unpaid cheques.
Commenting on the sentences, Liam Mannall, Deputy Chief Investigation Officer at Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said:
The Insolvency Service and The Department for Business will take firm action when we find that undertakings given to protect the public and the business community have been breached and where those unfit to manage a company engage in prohibited conduct.
Mr Murray acted with a complete disregard for the law and his conduct left individuals and traders out of pocket. He could not have acted as he did without the assistance provided by Mr Constable.