A criminal investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found that Avril Elliott had fraudulently reclaimed VAT between August 2008 and August 2013. On 7 July 2016 she pleaded guilty to fraudulently reclaiming £275,000 and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment on 25 August 2016.
Scothouses Ltd was wound up with HMRC being the sole creditor in respect of the VAT reclaim. Elliott had resigned as director on 24 June 2014 but the monies owed to HMRC were due entirely to her fraud.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy accepted a disqualification undertaking for 11 years, which prevents her from managing or controlling a company without leave of the court until 2028.
Robert Clarke, Head of Company Investigation at the Insolvency Service said:
The public can be assured that where there have been abuses of public finance provisions which result in losses of this type, the Insolvency Service will investigate the conduct of the parties involved. Action will be taken to remove them from the corporate trading environment for a lengthy period.
Notes to editors
Avril Elliott’s date of birth is July 1967 and she is of Edinburgh.
She was appointed as director of Scothouses Ltd on 2 August 2001 and resigned as a director on 24 June 2014.
Scothouses Ltd (SC205394) was wound up on 5 July 2016 with a deficiency to creditors of £409,990. The company operated as a property development company from the premises at 8 Mountcastle Gardens, Edinburgh, EH8 7SR.
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, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), administers the insolvency regime, and aims to deliver and promote a range of investigation and enforcement activities both civil and criminal in nature, to support fair and open markets. We do this by effectively enforcing the statutory company and insolvency regimes, maintaining public confidence in those regimes and reducing the harm caused to victims of fraudulent activity and to the business community, including dealing with the disqualification of directors in corporate failures.
BEIS’ mission is to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy that works for all, 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.
The agency also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, 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.
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