Debt man­age­ment boss is jailed over £1 mil­lion fraud

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

THE boss of two debt man­age­ment firms has been jailed for tak­ing more than £1m from vul­ner­a­ble clients.

John Tay­lor-Groom, 41, from Prest­bury, pock­eted the money while work­ing as com­pany di­rec­tor of Debt Help Di­rect Ltd and Money Wor­ries Ltd.

The firms, which were run from of­fices at The Pad­dock, in Hand­forth, tar­geted peo­ple who could not pay off their debts.

But in­stead of pay­ing off their cred­i­tors Tay­lorG­room trans­ferred the money to his per­sonal bank ac­count be­tween March 2012 and March 2013.

Tay­lor-Groom, for­merly of Bo­nis Hall Lane, Prest­bury, ad­mit­ted two charges of fraud by false rep­re­sen­ta­tion at Ch­ester Crown Court on May 20.

He was jailed at the same court on June 19 for four years months.

The fraud was un­cov­ered dur­ing a dawn raid on the com­pany’s of­fices at The Pad­dock, in Hand­forth, in March 2013 by Cheshire Po­lice’s eco­nomic fraud unit.

Of­fi­cers also raided his £2m home on in Prest­bury.

Both Debt Help Di­rect Ltd and Money Wor­ries Ltd were sub­se­quently shut down on the or­ders of the gov­ern­ment.

The firms were later wound up by a High Court judge at the re­quest of then Busi­ness Sec­re­tary Vince Ca­ble fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the In­sol­vency Ser­vice.

More than a dozen cred­i­tors came for­ward say­ing they were owed more than £900,000 by the two firms.

The cash in­cludes a to­tal of £545,000 that is owed to HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms.

At the time of the wind­ing up or­der in­ves­ti­ga­tor

and

eight for the In­sol­vency Ser­vice Alex Deane, said: “These com­pa­nies tar­geted in­di­vid­u­als who were al­ready in se­vere fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and the ‘ser­vices’ pro­vided by these com­pa­nies sim­ply made mat­ters much worse.

“They claimed to of­fer a ser­vice and failed to de­liver.”

A spokesman for the In­sol­vency Ser­vice added: “The in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed that both com­pa­nies tar- geted peo­ple who were un­able to pay their debts and set up debt man­age­ment plans in which the clients paid a reg­u­lar amount to be dis­trib­uted to the cred­i­tors.

“How­ever, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed that, even though be­tween them, the com­pa­nies re­ceived over £1.3m from clients in a two-month pe­riod in early 2013, a large pro­por­tion ap­peared not to have been paid to the cred­i­tors.”

●● John Tay­lor-Groom

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