Rogue publisher has been disqualified for 11 years after taking £74,000 from clients for adverts that never appeared in his magazine
Alan Peterson, from Liverpool, was sole director of Sage Media National Limited. The company began trading from January 2018 and had a contract to produce and distribute a magazine titled ‘Copperwheel’ on behalf of the West Midlands Police Motor Club.
The magazine was published twice a year and Sage Media National Limited would cold call businesses to sell advertising in the magazine.
Concerns, however, were raised about the advertising sales techniques used by Sage Media National Limited before the Insolvency Service launched confidential enquiries into the publisher’s activities.
Following a petition by the Insolvency Service, the courts wound-up Sage Media National Limited in November 2020 and appointed the Official Receiver as Liquidator. Further investigations uncovered that Alan Peterson caused the magazine publisher to carry out substantial misconduct.
Sage Media National Limited consistently misinformed and abused their clients. The magazine publisher used aggressive sales techniques, invoiced clients for advertising services they did not order, deluded clients into thinking the magazine had a substantial subscription list, and misled clients by suggesting it was affiliated with the emergency services.
One charity, having agreed to a single advert, was invoiced for two further adverts they had not agreed to, and the invoice was paid from a volunteer’s personal funds.
Through these duplicitous activities, Sage Media National Limited secured £74,000 from clients for advertisements that it failed to publish in specified editions of a magazine or at all.
The magazine publisher also failed to maintain and/or preserve and/or deliver up adequate accounting records. This has meant that the Official Receiver has been unable to establish the legitimacy of several of the company’s activities, including why more than £32,000 was transferred to Alan Peterson’s personal account.
In June 2022, the Secretary of State accepted a 11-year disqualification undertaking from Alan Peterson, after he did not dispute that he caused Sage Media National Limited to act with a lack of commercial probity.
Alan Peterson is banned from directly, or indirectly, becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.
Karen Maxwell, Deputy Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
Sage Media National Limited unscrupulously targeted companies using aggressive sales tactics to advertise in a magazine that didn’t have the reach or associations that it falsely claimed to have. As sole director of the magazine publisher, Alan Peterson was ultimately responsible for the company’s objectionable tactics and abusing clients of thousands of pounds.
11 years is a substantial ban and Alan Peterson has rightly been removed from the corporate arena for a significant amount of time. From petitioning the courts to wind-up the company, through to securing Alan Peterson’s disqualification, this case clearly demonstrates the full abilities of the Insolvency Service to tackle serious financial misconduct.
Notes to Editor
Alan Peterson is from Liverpool and his date of birth is November 1962.
Sage Media National Limited Limited (Company number 11176202).
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 restrictions.