Banned director sentenced for illegally managing companies

Jonathan Bennett (49), from Cardiff, appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on 10 May before Judge Fitton QC were he was sentenced to 9 months in prison, suspended for 2 years.

During the hearing the court heard that Jonathan Bennett was banned as a company director in 2010 for 8 years.

Jonathan Bennett, however, continued to act in breach of his ban when was prominently involved in the management of two companies: Platinum Bay (Trading) Ltd and Platinum Bay Jewellery Ltd.

Platinum Bay Trading Ltd was incorporated in June 2012 with one sole director. The company sold watches and jewellery before it was compulsorily wound up in February 2015 following a petition by the tax authorities, owing almost £340,000.

The liquidation triggered an investigation by the Insolvency Service before investigators found that despite not being named as a director, Jonathan Bennett was heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the business in breach of his disqualification.

The banned director had set-up the business with another and recruited members of staff, corresponded with the local authority and was a signatory to a business account.

The second company Jonathan Bennet played an active role in, Platinum Bay Jewellery Ltd, was incorporated in July 2014. The jewellery seller traded for just over a year before it went into voluntary liquidation in November 2015 with almost £70,000 worth of debt.

Platinum Bay Jewellery’s insolvency triggered a second investigation by the Insolvency Service, which found that, despite not being a formal director, Jonathan Bennett was the point of contact for the liquidators and was responsible for paying the rates, operating the lease and managing employees.

The third company involved in the proceedings, Velocity FM Ltd, was incorporated in April 2015. The company traded as a washroom facility provider before going into liquidation in January 2018, triggering another investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Investigators uncovered that Jonathan Bennett had again breached his 2010 disqualification when he incorporated Velocity FM Ltd. The banned director listed Carol Apps as Velocity FM’s director and while Carol Apps knew of Jonathan Bennett’s disqualification undertaking, claimed the banned director just provided advice.

Investigators, however, were able to prove that Jonathan Bennett unofficially ran the company, including being responsible for recruitment, web design, remuneration and dealing with accountants.

Jonathan Bennet’s multiple breaches of his 2010 disqualification led to a criminal investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Further investigations confirmed that during his 8-year disqualification, Bennett had sold several companies with legal agreements not to use specific names or be involved in competitor companies, which he wasn’t allowed to do.

The court heard that Jonathan Bennett was made bankrupt in August 2012 and this also meant he was not allowed to manage companies.

Jonathan Bennett pleaded guilty to two counts of acting as a director whilst subject of an 8 year disqualification undertaking and acting as a director whilst being an undischarged bankrupt on 8 January at Cardiff Magistrates Court.

On 10 May, he was given a suspended sentence and ordered to do 90 hours of unpaid work. He was also disqualified from acting as a company director for 6 years meaning he is banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

Carol Apps pleaded guilty to using a prohibited name of a company which was a name incorporated before the demise of Velocity FM on 8 January at Cardiff Magistrates Court. On 10 May, she was sentenced to 6 months in prison, suspended for 8 months. She was also ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work.

Glenn Wicks, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

Jonathan Bennett was prolific in his involvement in new companies whilst he knew he was both disqualified from acting as a company director and subject to the restrictions of bankruptcy. Carol Apps provided cover for Jonathan Bennett’s breaches throughout and provided false accounts to maintain his position.

Jonathan Bennett has now been given a significant sentence which reflects his total disregard for the disqualification he should have been abiding by.

Notes

Jonathan Bennett is from Cardiff and his date of birth is March 1972

Carol Apps is from Cardiff and her date of birth is May 1962

Platinum Bay (Trading) Ltd (Company no 08122062)

Platinum Bay Jewellery Ltd (Company no 09124461)

Velocity FM Ltd (Company no 07590838)

The sentence result was announced at Cardiff Crown Court by Judge Fitton QC

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.

Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.

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