Press release

Maximum 15 years disqualification for Lancashire-based accountant who conned more than £2.3m out of clients

Geoffrey William Langdale has been disqualified for 15 years for dishonestly obtaining more than £2.3 million from clients. He also received a criminal conviction.

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This follows an investigation by North Yorkshire Police and a subsequent investigation by the Insolvency Service.

On the 4 February 2016, District Judge Forrester ordered Mr Langdale’s disqualification for the maximum period permitted by law of 15 years, with effect from 25 February.

Geoffrey William Langdale traded as an accountant in the Lancashire area from 1993, and in 2003 Langdales Accountants Limited was incorporated to continue the work of Mr Langdale’s sole trader business.

The Insolvency Service’s investigation found that:

  • Between June 2002 and June 2013, Mr Langdale dishonestly obtained money transfers totalling £2,333,488 from clients, having told clients these funds would be invested in a high interest-bearing savings account and would require a 90 day notice period before they could be withdrawn. In fact, the funds were used by Mr Langdale and he used deposits by subsequent investors to pay earlier investors, effectively a ‘Ponzi scheme’.
  • Only £1,112,951 of this was repaid, resulting in losses to clients of £1,220,537.
  • On 19 August 2014 in the Crown Court at Bradford, following an investigation by North Yorkshire Police, Mr Langdale was convicted on indictment of obtaining a money transfer by deception and on 26 September 2014, he was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in relation to these offences.

Commenting on this case, Robert Clarke, Group Leader of Insolvent Investigations North at The Insolvency Service, said:

The imposition of a ban for the maximum period of 15 years sends out a clear message that where a company director abuses a position of trust in order to persuade clients to part with their money, the Insolvency Service will take action to remove that director from the business environment for a lengthy period of time.

Notes to editors

Langdales Accountants Limited (Company Registration No. 04898001) was incorporated on 12 September 2003 and went into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation on 7 February 2014.

Geoffrey William Langdale’s date of birth is 9 April 1951.

On 19 August 2014 in the Crown Court at Bradford, following an investigation by North Yorkshire Police, Mr Langdale was convicted on indictment of obtaining a money transfer by deception, contrary to section 15A of the Theft Act 1968 and of fraud, contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006.

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.

Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions can be found here.

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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Published 24 February 2016