Press release

12 years’ disqualification for company director who involved his company in VAT fraud

Stuart Lee Hewlett, a director of S H Waste Management Ltd, a wholesaler in scrap metal based in Cambridgeshire has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills to be disqualified as a director for a period of 12 years for engaging in transactions linked to VAT fraud.

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The disqualification regime exists to protect the public and Mr Hewlett’s disqualification from 15 July 2015 means that he cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2027.

This disqualification follows investigation by the Official Receiver at Public Interest Unit, a specialist team of the Insolvency Service, whose involvement commenced with the winding up of the company, following a winding up petition presented by HMRC for £77,825 for unpaid VAT.

The Official Receiver’s investigation uncovered that S H Waste Management Ltd entered into a number of transactions, purchasing goods from outside the UK and selling them on within the UK, without accounting to HMRC for the output tax charged on those sales.

The sales made by S H Waste Management Ltd were below the cost price which was only possible through the planned VAT fraud.

Mr Hewlett has also failed to maintain adequate accounting records to explain cash withdrawals totalling £44,804.

Commenting on this case Paul Titherington, Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit, said:

This is not a victimless crime, these trades will impact on honest competitors as well as tax payers and their families who as a result suffered the effects of funding shortages in healthcare, education and other front line services.

The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers to investigate and disqualify directors whose companies defraud the public purse.

Notes to Editors

S H Waste Management Ltd (Company No. 08016481) was incorporated on 2 April 2012. Its registered office was at 8 Amberley House, 22 Bury Road, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7BU.

The petition to wind up the company was presented by HM Revenue & Customs in respect of unpaid VAT of £77,825. The winding up order against S H Waste Management Ltd was made on 4 November 2013.

On 24 June 2015, Stuart Lee Hewlett signed a disqualification undertaking for a period of 12 years.

Stuart Lee Hewlett is of Soham and his date of birth is 21 May, 1977.

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

In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.

Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions ia 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.

All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit (South), The Insolvency Service, 2nd Floor, 4 Abbey Orchard Street, London SW1P 2HT. Tel: 020 7637 6460 Email: piu.or@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.

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Published 24 July 2015