Two directors of an industrial laundry installation firm who set up a ‘phoenix’ company while disqualified from running a business have been fined a total of £182,700
Colin Marsh, 54, and Robert Farrell, 53, both from Halifax, appeared at Bradford Crown Court in December where Marsh was ordered to repay £133,000 within three months or face 18 months in prison and Farrell was ordered to pay just over £49,700 over the same period or face nine months in prison.
The pair were directors of Direct Laundry Installations Limited, based in Halifax, which supplied and fitted trade laundry installations, before it went into liquidation in October 2015.
But before the company’s liquidation, they set up a second company, Direct Laundry and Steam Installations Limited. In setting up the new company, the directors breached insolvency law as the business had a similar name, traded from the same address, and carried out the same activities as the liquidated company.
The two were convicted of acting as directors while disqualified and using a prohibited company name in February 2022.
Investigators from the Insolvency Service’s Financial Investigation Unit then carried out further investigations and in December 2023, Bradford Crown Court ordered for the money they had gained improperly to be confiscated.
Alexander Grierson, Senior Accredited Financial Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:
Directors of an insolvent company are not allowed to start a new company with the same or similar name, in order to protect businesses and customers from being duped by directors who fail to run a business in a professional manner. Colin Marsh and Robert Farrell abused the insolvency regime when they incorporated an almost-identical second company while they were in the throes of winding-up the first failed business. Their conduct was totally reckless and their punishment should serve as a warning that we will prosecute and seek appropriate confiscation from company directors who break the law.
The Financial Investigation Unit team has powers to conduct confiscation investigations into people who have been convicted of criminal offences or offences that result in a financial benefit.
Colin Richard Marsh is of Halifax and his date of birth is 10 September 1969
Robert Austin Farrell is of Halifax and his date of birth is 31 January 1970.
Direct Laundry Installations Ltd (Company number 07328299) and Direct Laundry and Steam Installations Limited (Company number 09700953).