A Manchester based director has been disqualified from acting as a company director for 10 years for selling franchise opportunities to the public using unreasonable representations of sales and earnings figures.
Philip Roy Smith-Lawrence was the director of Advanced Media Information Ltd (AMI).
The disqualification, from 23 September 2014 follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service, which found that Mr Smith-Lawrence (52) knew or ought to have known that his claims were excessive and projected sales unachievable.
In making a winding-up order on 6 February 2012, the court found the trading of AMI was against the public interest. The business model of AMI was to sell franchises to the public for the sale of advertising media in hotels.
The investigation also found Mr Smith-Lawrence failed to supply franchisees with the required number of kiosks on which the advertising media was to be located. Commenting on this case Ken Beasley, the Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit at the Insolvency Service, said:
This company set out to mislead the public. The courts decision to wind it up and to disqualify Mr Smith-Lawrence shows the seriousness with which this type of dishonest activity is viewed.
The Insolvency Service is determined to come down hard on directors who set out to rip people off by deliberately misrepresenting the investment opportunity on offer and will make every effort to recover ill gotten gains.
The investigation found that Mr Smith-Lawrence received remuneration of 180,000 over a 29 month period which was found to be excessive. The Official Receiver considered Mr Smith-Lawrence ought to have received nothing as none of the income and sales of AMI were derived from transactions in the public interest.