Both men were sentenced on 28 January 2016.
The trial of Kiran Kumar Mistry, 50 years, Leicester and Florence Hoxha, 33 years, at Southwark Crown Court concluded on the 9 December 2015 when the jury found Kiran Kumar Mistry guilty of conspiracy to defraud nine companies which were investigated by officers from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) under the name Operation Barber.
The companies involved were Millistyle Ltd, Britannia (Construction Supplies) Ltd, Fabricat Ltd, Woodpro Ltd, Sharpe Developments Ltd, All Aspects Construction Ltd, RMD Imports Ltd, Bluechip Innovations Ltd, and Real Estate (Midlands) Ltd.
The fraudulent activity operated from November 1998 until July 2007.
The investigation found and the court heard, Kiran Mistry as the insolvency practitioner involved in eight of the Operation Barber companies, facilitated the fraud thereby enabling his co-conspirator Demitris Bains to continue to defraud creditors unchecked for a considerable period of time.
Florenc Hoxha, was found not guilty in relation to one count of fraudulent trading of the company Bluechip Innovations Ltd. A further defendant, David Wright, 40 years, pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulent trading of the company Millstyle Limited.
This was the second trial in relation to the offending in Operation Barber. The first, involved eight defendants and concluded on the 28 February 2014 with guilty verdicts against the Defendants Eric Harris, 73, of Nottingham and Sukhi Samrai, 49, of Leicester, Phillip Williams, 55 years of Sutton in Ashfield, Nottingham.
Demitris Bains, 52 years of Ravershead, Nottinghamshire, the ring leader pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud and his sister, Kiran Dillon,47 years of Newark, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to the fraudulent trading of all nine companies.
Two other Defendants Simon Ludgate, 48, of Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire and Calvin Harris, 52, of Newark, Nottinghamshire entered guilty pleas at the start of the trial. The defendant Jonathan Paul Noon, 49 years, was found not guilty by the jury.
Sentencing against all seven Defendants took place at Southwark Crown Court on the 9 May 2014 when a collective total of just over 17 years imprisonment was handed down.
His Honour Judge Pegden said the case involved:
A massive fraud of £5 million involving nine companies over a period of seven years which had undermined local business confidence and had caused loss to small traders and businesses which were repeatedly targeted by those involved, most notably Kiran Dillon who assisted her brother Demitris Bains as she was pivotal to gathering the credit and making the fraud work. Her multiple aliases made it impossible for creditors to identify her as having defrauded them previously.
Bains, he said, carefully planned the fraud, controlled it and benefited with funds used for expensive cars, pensions and helicopter lessons.
A particular feature of the fraud was Bains’ loans to the companies involved from various sources some abroad with punitive rates of interest in default which allowed him financial control and enabled him to fold the respective companies when it best suited him.
Taking into consideration early guilty pleas and applying the relevant discounts, HHJ Pegden gave the following sentences:
- Demitris Bains - four years and nine months imprisonment with a Disqualification Order for a period of 12 years
- Kiran Dillon - four years and three months imprisonment with a Disqualification Order of 12 years
- Simon Ludgate - three years and three months imprisonment with 9 months imprisonment concurrent for acting in the management of a company whilst disqualified
- Calvin Harris - two years and eight months imprisonment with nine months imprisonment concurrent for acting in the management of a company whilst disqualified
- Eric Harris - two years and six months imprisonment
- Sukhi Samrai - 21 months imprisonment which was suspended for 18 months. She also received a Supervision Order of 18 months
- Philip Williams -two years imprisonment suspended for two years in addition to a £2,500 fine
Glenn Wicks, the officer in charge of the BIS investigation, said:
These people deliberately set out to defraud local builders and builders’ merchants who, in some cases, nearly lost their livelihoods. In January 2007 we worked with three police forces across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire with 140 staff executing 31 warrants. It was and still is the biggest operation of its time and it stopped these criminals dead in their tracks.
The insolvency regime relies entirely on the professionals within it being honest. Kiran Mistry was a qualified and licensed insolvency practitioner who has been proved to be corrupt and a shame to his profession. Rather than reporting criminality as he was legally bound to do, he was actually involved in committing the frauds and then covering them up.
BIS will crack down on anyone trading fraudulently and the prison sentences handed out show that the courts will deal with offenders severely.
Notes to editors
The companies involved (all now dissolved) were:
- Milli-Style Ltd - Company number 03673504
- Britannia (Construction Supplies) Ltd - Company number 03855921
- Fabricat (Nottingham) Ltd - Company number 03711543
- Wood Pro Ltd - Company number 04057641
- Sharpe Developments Ltd (Later Practical Timber Ltd) - Company number 04193764
- All Aspects Construction Ltd - Company number 04004817
- RMD Imports Ltd - Company number 04646509
- Bluechip Innovations Ltd - Company number 04271793
- Real Estate (Midlands) Ltd - Company number 04696334
The individuals involved are:
- Kiran Kumar Mistry, is of Leicester. Date of birth, 9 April 1965
- David Wright, 40 years, of Fleetwood Date of birth 8 November 1975
- Florence Hoxha, of Enfield. Date of birth 10 January 1983
- Eric Harris, 73 years of Hempshill Vale, Nottingham. Date of birth, 6 August 1942
- Sukhi Samrai, 49 years of Gipsy Road, Leicester. Date of birth, 23 October 1966
- Phillip Williams, 55 years of Huthwaite Road, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottingham NG17 2HF
- Demitris Bains, of Nottinghamshire. Date of birth, 28 January 1963
- Simon Ludgate, of Nottinghamshire. Date of birth, 14 May 1967
- Calvin Harris, of Nottinghamshire. Date of birth 1 April 1963
- Kiran Dillon, of Nottingham. Date of birth, 15 December 1968
BIS’ mission is to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy, in particular by creating the conditions for business success and promoting an open global economy. The Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team contributes to this aim by taking action to deter fraud and to regulate the market. They investigate and prosecute a range of offences, primarily relating to personal or company insolvencies. Further information about the work of the Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team is available.
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 authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, 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.
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