Third time unlucky as fraudulent company is closed down
A company, which has been known by three different names this year, was wound up by the High Court on 4 April 2016.
The company in question changed its name from UAE Parcel Ltd to Utopia Prepared Ltd, then to Fresh Prepared Ltd on 25 March 2016 and was wound on 4 April 2016. This followed an investigation by Company Investigations of the Insolvency Service and the presentation of a public interest petition.
The investigation found that the company, which was known as Utopia Prepared Ltd during 2015 and during the investigation, filed false accounts at Companies House and then used those accounts to try and obtain goods on credit and lease terms, an activity known within the Insolvency Service as Short Term Fraud. For example, Investigators discovered that the company obtained expensive holidays, cars and other services whilst dishonestly holding itself out as a supplier of prepared fruit to UK supermarkets.
The investigation also found that the company was linked to a string of other companies carrying on similar activities and which also used the device of switching names and addresses. Those addresses were usually virtual office premises with no actual presence by the company.
The accounts were purportedly prepared by another limited company holding itself out to be an accountancy business, which appeared to Investigators to have existed solely to produce the unsubstantiated accounts for this company.
Scott Crighton, Group Leader with Company Investigations North said:
The Insolvency Service will investigate and bring to a halt the activities of companies that seek to use fraudulent means to obtain goods and services on an organized basis using an extensive network of deception and misdirection.
This company attempted to frustrate the action we took to wind it up by switching names and addresses on a regular basis. That action was also an attempt to confuse and mislead suppliers and potential creditors who sought to contact the company.
Business owners should take care when dealing with potential new traders whose bona fides consist solely of accounts filed at Companies House with little to validate the information in those accounts.
Notes to editors
Fresh Prepared Ltd – company registration number 07711595 – was incorporated on 20 July 2011 as Senectus Ltd. It changed its name to Utopia Prepared Ltd on 5 September 2014, and then to UAE Parcel Ltd on 5 January 2016. It changed its name again on 4 March 2016 to Utopia Prepared For Retail Ltd, and again on 25 March 2016 to the present name.
The company’s registered office was at 2 Southfield Road, Westbury on Trim, Bristol from incorporation, and it was changed to 5 High Street Westbury on Trim on 27 March 2013. It was then changed to 2 Snow Hill Queensway, Birmingham on 28 August 2014, and to Unit E1 Printing House Lane, Hayes, Middlesex on 6 January 2016, and then to Rouen House, Rouen Road, Norwich, the present registered office on 24 March 2016.
The petition to wind-up Fresh Prepared Ltd was presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 on 13 October 2015 and the Official Receiver was appointed as Liquidator of both companies on 11 December 2015. Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, uses powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).
Further information about live company investigations is available 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: 15 April 2016
From: The Insolvency Service