As a result of two insolvency offences, Robert Porter, aged 67, a company director from Hampshire, has been sentenced to 6 months imprisonment following a hearing at Reading Magistrates’ Court.
Mr Porter pleaded guilty to 1 count of being concerned in the management of a company whilst disqualified from doing so and 1 count of the use of a prohibited name.
Ms Kelly Porter, aged 45, received a sentence of 150 hours unpaid work and a directors’ disqualification order of 1 year’s duration for aiding and abetting the section 13 count.
Mr Porter’s conviction follows an initial investigation by the Insolvency Service and a full criminal investigation and prosecution by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Mr Porter was formerly the director of ADP Enterprises Limited, a building company which traded as A & B Construction. The company amassed large deficiencies and was wound up in August 2008.
In the course of the winding up Mr Porter offered a Directors Disqualification Undertaking for a period of three years and six months which ended on 7 December 2013. As such, Mr Porter was prohibited from acting as a director or being involved in the management of a company for this period. Additionally, as its director, Mr Porter was prohibited from trading in the name of the dissolved company, or any name it had been known by in the 12 months prior to winding up, or any name so similar as to suggest a connection to the dissolved company.
On 12 May 2008, Porter & Co was incorporated and operated as a building company. The company amassed debts and was wound up on 26 March 2012. In the course of Porter & Co’s winding up the Insolvency Practitioner collected evidence, including invoices and statements from customers, which indicated that although Ms Porter was the sole registered director, in reality Mr Porter had been in control of the company and that the company had used the trading style A & B Construction. The matter was referred for criminal investigation and a prosecution brought.
DCIO Liam Mannall, from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, said:
Flouting a director’s disqualification has serious consequences. In this case Mr Porter has received a custodial prison sentence at the age of 67, whilst his wife has received a lesser sentence but is now also disqualified.
This demonstrates how seriously the courts consider the flouting of directors disqualification by banned directors, and those who assist them.
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills will investigate and prosecute those who ignore the restrictions placed on them by disqualification orders or undertakings.
Notes to editors
A D P Enterprises Limited (Company Registration Number 04760188) was incorporated on 13 May 2003; it was ordered into compulsory liquidation on 12 August 2008.
The offences relating to Robert John Porter are:
- One count contrary to section 13 of the Insolvency Act 1986
- And one count of the use of a prohibited name contrary to section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
In the disqualification order in respect of Ms Kelly Porter, the judge was HHJ Lacchar.
BIS were represented by Emer Morrison and Mr Porter was represented by Andrew Purkiss of the Purkiss Partnership.
Ms Kelly Porter was represented by Fiona Taylor of Davies, Blunden & Evans Solicitors & Notary Public.
Robert John Porter is of Hampshire and his date of birth is 5 April 1948. He is currently subject to a Disqualification Undertaking, which ends on 20 March 2023.
Kelly Porter is of Hampshire and her date of birth is 8 January 1971.
BIS’ mission is to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy, 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. Further information about the work of the Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team 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.
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 can be found here.
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