Injury claims boss jailed after removing company funds before closure
Personal injury claims boss jailed for 21 months after fraudulently removing company funds in the months before the courts would make a winding-up order resulting in the closure of the business.
Bury-based Darren Christopher Bullough appeared at Bolton Crown Court on Wednesday 14 November after he pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulently removing funds and another count of failing to provide company books and records to the liquidator.
The court heard that Direct Assist Ltd was first incorporated in June 2007 and was a personal injury claims management company with two registered offices in Bury and Bolton.
Darren Bullough (46) was the sole director but seven years later, the company struggled financially after they lost a client who was their main source of business. This resulted in a petition being lodged at court to wind-up Direct Assist in September 2014 in relation to a £658,000 unpaid tax bill.
However, following the petition to wind-up the company, a substantial amount of money was removed from the company’s accounts.
The company bank account was frozen to stop any more funds being removed, as well as preventing creditors losing out further, and after Direct Assist formally entered into compulsory liquidation in March 2015, an investigation was launched by the Insolvency Service.
Enquiries were made difficult as investigators could not find any evidence of company records from July 2013 onwards and this would have covered the period when the funds were taken.
However, investigators were able to discover that in the months before a winding-up order was made by the court resulting in the closure of Direct Assist, Darren Bullough fraudulently removed close to £51,000 between September and December 2014.
Around £28,000 went to family members, £3,600 worth of cash was removed from the company’s bank account and £18,500 was spent on Direct Assist’s credit card. Darren Bullough even made his first removal just one day after the winding-up petition was presented to the courts.
At court, Judge Stead also made a Disqualification Order for 7 years. The ban prevents Darren Bullough from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
John Fitzsimmons, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
“Darren Bullough was well-known as someone who led an extravagant lifestyle, spending money on expensive property and fast cars. But he recklessly removed funds from his business knowing that Direct Assist was in financial difficulty.
“We welcome the courts substantial sentence and their recognition of the severity of Darren Bullough’s offences as not only was this money not his to do with as he pleased but by removing the funds, he denied payment that was rightfully owed to the company’s creditors.”
Notes to editors
A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:
- act as a director of a company
- take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
- be a receiver of a company’s property
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.
The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.
Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.
Contact Press Office
Media enquiries for this press release – 020 7674 6910 or 020 7596 6187
The Insolvency Service
4 Abbey Orchard Street
This service is for journalists only. For any other queries, please contact the Insolvency Enquiry line on 0300 678 0015.
For all media enquiries outside normal working hours, please contact the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Press Office on 020 7215 1000.
You can also follow the Insolvency Service on:
Latest News from
Companies involved in fraudulent art investment scheme wound-up14/03/2019 09:10:00
Two companies involved in what appears to be a fraudulent art investment scheme have been shut down after abusing close to £1.4 million of investors’ money.
Online small business directory shut down by court05/03/2019 12:10:00
Preston company behind online small business directory shut down by the courts after customers complained they were harassed to pay bills they did not owe.
Millions of nuisance PPI calls lands director with 8-year ban04/03/2019 11:10:00
Carmarthen director has been banned for eight years after causing two companies to make almost 221 million unsolicited nuisance PPI phone calls.
Insolvency (Scotland) Rules: Table of destinations now available26/02/2019 09:10:00
This news article provides a table indicating the destination of the provisions in the 1986 rules.
IT supplier closed after continuing work of wound-up companies25/02/2019 12:20:00
Court winds-up Leicester-based IT supplier after it continued the work of two connected companies that had already been shut down a year earlier.
Company conned small businesses to sponsor sham drug campaigns22/02/2019 15:20:00
Courts shut down a Stockport-based company that targeted small businesses to sponsor sham drug awareness campaigns for schools
Sileby company placed into provisional liquidation18/02/2019 15:20:00
Company based in Sileby, Leicestershire, has been placed in provisional liquidation following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Customer satisfaction survey15/02/2019 12:25:00
The research agency Populus is conducting our annual Customer Satisfaction Survey and will be contacting a sample of customers over February and March 2019.