Four men who asset stripped companies, including a wholesale Features > Business, of £4m have been sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court.
The four men all admitted fraudulent trading in relation to Abbotts Wholesale (Tobacconists and Confectioners) Ltd, Uno Shopfitting Ltd and a stationary Features > Business, Wavetown Ltd, between October 2001 and October 2002, after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in conjunction with the South Yorkshire Police.
In each case the men acquired the company with the assurance that a wealthy backer would invest in it, but instead they took funds out of the business. Within a year all three businesses were forced into receivership and when their affairs were settled the loss to creditors was £3,265,000. Forty six employees at Abbotts and Wavetown lost their jobs.
Saleem Akhtar Kiani, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, and consideration of an application for a Serious Crime Prevention Order and/or director’s disqualification was adjourned to a future date, as was confiscation and costs matters.
Christopher Brian Fox was jailed for 16 months and disqualified from being a company director for five years.
William Gerald Lane was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and was disqualified from being a company director for five years, and Robert Anthony Green was sentenced to nine months imprisonment (suspended) and disqualified from being a company director for three years.
At sentencing His Honour Judge Robertshaw said this “was a systematic commercial fraud on a grand scale committed over 12 months”.