Press release

Man and woman banned after company falsified data to defraud Royal Mail

Priyesh Rawal has been disqualified from acting as a director for 12 years, and his former wife, Shaina Saleem Shipton (also known as Shaina Saleem Patel) has been disqualified from acting as a director for three and a half years following and investigation by the Insolvency Service.

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The investigation showed that while they were directors of One Click Ventures Limited, the Company defrauded Royal Mail Group Limited to the tune of £523,769.

The investigation found Mr Rawal caused One Click Ventures Limited to defraud Royal Mail Group Limited by operating a policy of falsifying information in relation to the number of packages despatched.

Shaina Shipton, who was the Operations Director with the responsibility for ensuring that employees followed the correct procedures and was responsible for an accounting function (including the payment of the Royal Mail invoices), failed to properly exercise her directorial duties resulting in the company improperly operating an online business account facility with Royal Mail .

The company was incorporated in June 2009 and started trading in November 2009 as an online mail order retailer of pharmaceuticals. Both Mr Rawal and Shaina Shipton were the only directors from the start to the end of trading in December 2012. The company ceased trading after Royal Mail obtained a restraint order following audits and investigation of suspicious activity. It had estimated assets totalling £10,500 and liabilities totalling £974,750 at liquidation.

Mr Rawal was found guilty of fraud, received a suspended sentence and was ordered to pay compensation on 13 November 2013. No criminal findings were made against Ms Shipton, his then wife.

The Insolvency Service investigation found that:

  • One Click utilised the Online Business Account system provided by Royal Mail which allows large clients to create “Printed Postage Impressions” on the customer’s packages on the basis that the customer would then declare the correct number and weight of the packages and pay for the postage
  • Mr Rawal personally knowingly and deliberately failed to declare the true number of packages that were sent by One Click
  • Ms Shipton was the Operations Director with the responsibility for ensuring that employees carried the correct procedures and was responsible for an accounting function including the payment of the Royal Mail invoices
  • during 1 December 2011 to 16 October 2012 the Directors, who were in a relationship and subsequently married, were recorded to have been paid or had dividends paid in the amount of £126,093.82

Commenting on the disqualification, Cheryl Lambert, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

Directors have a duty to ensure that the procedures they construct and oversee comply with the law. Directors who do not comply with this basic obligation can expect to be investigated by the Insolvency Service and enforcement action taken to remove them from the market place.

In this case Mr Rawal constructed a fraudulent trading operation resulting in over £1/2million being wrongly extracted. Mr Rawal took advantage of systems designed to reduce time delays and cost to UK business for his own personal benefit.

Ms Shipton did not ensure that the necessary controls and procedures were in place to prevent the implementation of dishonest business practices. She had executive responsibility for an operation that obtained money by systematically providing false information. This is activity that goes to the very core and basis of the economic system.

Taking action against Ms Shipton is a warning to all directors to seriously consider, and ensure they perform, their duties and obligations. They cannot hide behind the excuse that others did something when they had responsibility and the means to know.

Notes to editors

One Click Ventures Ltd (CRO 06932133) was incorporated on 12 June 2009. Its registered office was 51 and 53 Pembroke Avenue, Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, CB25 9QP. It traded from the same address.

One Click Ventures Ltd was placed into liquidation on 28 February 2014.

Shaina Shipton is of Cambridge and her date of birth is 11 April 1986.

Priyesh Rawal now resides in Uganda and was formerly of the same address and his date of birth is 16 February 1985.

The Secretary of State accepted an undertaking from Priyesh Rawal on 25 November 2015. The disqualification commences on 16 December 2015.

The Secretary of State accepted an undertaking from Shaina Saleem Shipton on 12 October 2015. The disqualification commenced on 2 November 2015.

A disqualification order or undertaking 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. Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions 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.

All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: Cheryl Lambert, Head of Outsourced Investigations, Investigations and Enforcement Services, The Insolvency Service, 3rd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London SW1P 2HT. Tel: 0207 596 6117. Email: Cheryl.Lambert@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.

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Published 1 February 2016