A Manchester based director has been disqualified from acting as a company director for 10 years for selling franchise opportunities to the public using unreasonable representations of sales and earnings figures.
Philip Roy Smith-Lawrence was the director of Advanced Media Information Ltd (“AMI”).
The disqualification, from 23 September 2014 follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service, which found that Mr Smith-Lawrence (52) knew or ought to have known that his claims were excessive and projected sales unachievable.
In making a winding-up order on 6 February 2012, the court found the trading of AMI was against the public interest. The business model of AMI was to sell franchises to the public for the sale of advertising media in hotels.
The investigation also found Mr Smith-Lawrence failed to supply franchisees with the required number of kiosks on which the advertising media was to be located. Commenting on this case Ken Beasley, the Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit at the Insolvency Service, said:
This company set out to mislead the public. The court’s decision to wind it up and to disqualify Mr Smith-Lawrence shows the seriousness with which this type of dishonest activity is viewed.
The Insolvency Service is determined to come down hard on directors who set out to rip people off by deliberately misrepresenting the investment opportunity on offer and will make every effort to recover ill gotten gains”.
The investigation found that Mr Smith-Lawrence received remuneration of £180,000 over a 29 month period which was found to be excessive. The Official Receiver considered Mr Smith-Lawrence ought to have received nothing as none of the income and sales of AMI were derived from transactions in the public interest.
Notes to Editors
Advanced Media Information Ltd (CRO No. 06067747) was incorporated on 25 January 2007 and was placed into compulsory liquidation on 6 February 2012 following a winding up petition by the Secretary of State on the grounds of public interest.
Prior to the winding up order the registered office was Hampton House, Oldham Road, Middleton, M24 1GT.
Philip Roy Smith-Lawrence is of Manchester and his date of birth is 9 September 1962.
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. The agency also 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 is available.
All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit, 2nd Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, London Road, Manchester, M1 3BN. Tel: 0161 234 8531 Email: email@example.com.
Published: 5 November 2014
From: The Insolvency Service