A company, which has been known by three different names this year, was wound up by the High Court on 4 April 2016.

The company in question changed its name from UAE Parcel Ltd to Utopia Prepared Ltd, then to Fresh Prepared Ltd on 25 March 2016 and was wound on 4 April 2016. This followed an investigation by Company Investigations of the Insolvency Service and the presentation of a public interest petition.

The investigation found that the company, which was known as Utopia Prepared Ltd during 2015 and during the investigation, filed false accounts at Companies House and then used those accounts to try and obtain goods on credit and lease terms, an activity known within the Insolvency Service as Short Term Fraud. For example, Investigators discovered that the company obtained expensive holidays, cars and other services whilst dishonestly holding itself out as a supplier of prepared fruit to UK supermarkets.

The investigation also found that the company was linked to a string of other companies carrying on similar activities and which also used the device of switching names and addresses. Those addresses were usually virtual office premises with no actual presence by the company.

The accounts were purportedly prepared by another limited company holding itself out to be an accountancy business, which appeared to Investigators to have existed solely to produce the unsubstantiated accounts for this company.

Scott Crighton, Group Leader with Company Investigations North said:

The Insolvency Service will investigate and bring to a halt the activities of companies that seek to use fraudulent means to obtain goods and services on an organized basis using an extensive network of deception and misdirection.

This company attempted to frustrate the action we took to wind it up by switching names and addresses on a regular basis. That action was also an attempt to confuse and mislead suppliers and potential creditors who sought to contact the company.

Business owners should take care when dealing with potential new traders whose bona fides consist solely of accounts filed at Companies House with little to validate the information in those accounts.