12-year ban for director over fake invoices

The director of an event management and production company has been banned for 12 years for submitting false invoices for VAT claims, including on the costs of his own wedding reception, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service

Paul Jessup, from Stroud, was the sole director of Paragon Production Ltd which went into liquidation in July 2015.

The Insolvency Service said Jessup caused Paragon to reclaim unentitled VAT totalling £19,356 for services provided to him personally, including his own wedding reception and work on his private residence.

He provided HMRC with eight false invoices in support of the VAT reclaims which showed materially different details to the originals and suggested that the invoices were for legitimate company expenditure. Jessup also provided the liquidator with a further three invoices, which again materially differed from the originals.

In addition, Jessup failed to provide records that adequately explained whether Paragon was entitled to a further £121,427 in VAT refunds which it had received. In the absence of any identifiable sales income, he was unable to prove that Paragon had held any events at all, other than his own wedding reception.

Jessup was also a director of The Intelligent Merchandise Company Ltd, which was set up for the purpose of placing products in and producing merchandising for movies, and also went into liquidation in July 2015.

Jessup failed to deliver up sufficient records to show whether or not £269,972 spent by Intelligent between June and September 2013 had been expended on legitimate company business, which represented almost the entirety of a £270,000 loan advanced by an investor and co-director.

Sue Macleod, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service said: ‘Directors must ensure that any monies they are reclaiming from HMRC is for legitimate, company expenditure and not for personal expenditure. By submitting invoices to HMRC which were for his own benefit rather than the company’s benefit, the company obtained money from HMRC which it was not entitled to.

‘Directors also have a duty to ensure that proper accounting records are maintained, preserved and, following insolvency, delivered up to insolvency practitioner so that the public can be sure that all funds spent by the company are for legitimate company expenditure.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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