Debt management boss is jailed over £1 million fraud
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
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