Press release

Twenty-four year ban for directors who falsified student records

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Frederick William Wilson and Philip Michael Hyams, directors of failed training services provider Focus Four Limited (“Focus”) have received lengthy disqualifications after the company was found to have falsified student information to get nearly £200,000 of public funds.

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The disqualifications follow investigations by the Insolvency Service which found that Focus, operating from offices in Rugby and Leamington Spa, was contracted to deliver tax-payer funded training courses to members of the public.

Investigators found that between May 2011 and January 2013 Focus had claimed funding for non-existent employees of Focus and of a sister company. Focus had also falsified the records of some genuine students by claiming they had completed courses when in fact they had dropped out.

Mr Wilson (54) of Great Bowden, Market Harborough and Mr Hyams (53) of Hinckley, Leicestershire have both given undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, which prevent them from acting as a director of a company for 12 years each from 23 September 2014.

Commenting on the disqualifications, Susan Macleod, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

By falsifying information to obtain public funds in this way the company has effectively cheated the tax payer of a scarce and much needed public resource. “These disqualifications should serve as a warning that if directors behave in this way, their conduct will be investigated and they will be removed from the business environment”.

Notes to editors

Focus Four Ltd - CRO No. 02590688 - was incorporated on 12 March 1991 and latterly traded from premises at 8a Church Street, Rugby, Warwickshire CV21 3PH and at 69 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa CV32 4RQ.

The company was contracted to deliver training courses, such as NVQs and basic qualifications in Maths, English and IT skills, to members of the public. The training courses were funded by a Government Agency using public funds.

The company went into creditors’ voluntary liquidation on 18 March 2013.

Frederick William Wilson (date of birth: 18 September 1960) was appointed as a director on 22 June 1994 and Philip Hyams (date of birth: 27 December 1960) was appointed as a director on 11 May 2009.

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
  • act as an insolvency practitioner
  • be a receiver of a company’s property

In addition 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 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: The Chief Investigator, Insolvent Investigations (Midlands and West), The Insolvency Service, 1st Floor, Tower Wharf, Cheese Lane, Bristol BS2 0JJ Email: InsolventM&W@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

Published 24 October 2014