Jean-Paul Maurice Gaudin, director of Furnishahome Ltd in Northampton was disqualified from acting as a director for seven years for taking customer deposits when he should have been aware that the company was insolvent and for failing to register it for VAT.

The disqualification, which started on 13 February 2014 following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, also prevents Mr Gaudin from directly or indirectly becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company for the duration of the term.

Mr Gaudin should have been aware that Furnishahome was insolvent by the end of December 2010 but, between then and October 2011, he caused the company to take over 13,041 in deposits from customers for which no goods were supplied. He also told two of the customers that their items had been ordered from the manufacturers, when no orders had in fact been placed.

Furnishahome had also exceeded the 68,000 sales threshold for VAT registration by 1 July 2009 but did not register until 3 November 2011. This resulted in a 8,254 tax loss to HMRC for the period ending on 31 December 2009.

Commenting on the disqualification, Susan MacLeod, a Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

Taking deposits from customers, when there is a real risk that the company will not be able to supply the goods or services they promise, is a matter we take extremely seriously.

The directors failure to register for VAT not only prejudiced HMRC but also gave the company an unfair commercial advantage over its competitors.