Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 16°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Manningtree: Man who lost £1.2million of British soldiers’ money charged

11:36 31 January 2013

More than 300 troops, like the ones pictured, lost £1.2million after a soldiers

More than 300 troops, like the ones pictured, lost £1.2million after a soldiers' lettings agency went into liquidation.

A MAN who lost £1.2million belonging to more than 300 British soldiers after his forces lettings agency went bankrupt has been disqualified for nine years.

shares

Paul Smith, 47, of Manningtree, was director of Blue Force Property, a Hornchurch-based letting agency which helped members of the forces let out properties while serving.

But when his company went into liquidation in March 2011, there was a £1.2m gap in the books – all owed to Armed Forces personnel.

The Insolvency Service investigation found there was inadequate ring-fencing of the business accounts held by Mr Smith, who will not act as a director of a limited company until February 11, 2022.

David Brooks, a chief examiner for the Insolvency Service, said: “Many of the people who lost out as a result of this company’s demise were stationed overseas and had no choice but to trust Blue Force to look after their affairs on their behalf.

“This trust was broken and the money – money that many of them had risked their lives to earn – was lost.”

Blue Force Property was set up in 2004 exclusively for clients from the forces. It assisted them in buying residential properties and letting them out while they were serving overseas or living in Armed Forces accommodation.

The company managed these lettings, collecting rents and encouraging its customers to pay into property management accounts which were supposedly set up for each client individually, from where the mortgage, bills and expenses for their property would be paid.

Mr Smith and his staff repeatedly assured the soldiers that any surplus funds they paid in would be held securely in a ring-fenced account.

But in reality, all of the money went into one central client account from where thousands of property-related payments were made.

The company then moved funds from this client account into its own trading account and also to the accounts of an associated company.

These transactions meant that when the firm went into liquidation, the soldiers lost their money.

Mr Brooks added: “Directors who seek to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors by using clients’ funds to prop up their own accounts will be investigated.

“The Insolvency Service will seek to remove these people from the business environment.”

shares

0 comments

The existing A14 in Cambridgeshire which is prone to congestion.

Suffolk MPs Therese Coffey and Jo Churchill have taken the case to upgrade the county’s busiest road to the Transport Department.

Chilton Meadows Residential and Nursing Home.

A nursing home in a Suffolk village has been found to have breached the health and social care act following an inspection from the Care Quality Commission.

Ashley Leech

A convicted armed robber described as causing “significant risk of serious harm to the public” has been given an extended jail term.

Ipswich Crown Court

An Ipswich man’s car was allegedly attacked by two men wielding baseball bats while he was sitting in the driver’s seat near his home, a court has heard.

The former Ipswich Airport site from the air

Work on a £1m project to speed up traffic between the A14 and Warren Heath in Ipswich starts today.

Lemons Hill Bridge, Tattingstone

The death of a 22-year-old man at Alton Water has been described as an accident waiting to happen by villagers.

Pupils at Grange Community Primary School participate in their sports day

An Olympic-style games week has taken place at a Suffolk primary school with a combination of races and team games being held.

The Script Thetford High Lodge 2015-104

Chart-topping Dubliners The Script were back at Thetford last night to kick-start a weekend of big-name open-air concerts at the forest venue.

A former 4th July Celebration at RAF Feltwell.

A popular July 4 celebration organised by American airbases in west Suffolk has been cancelled due to “local threats”.

New Street, Woodbridge

An 82-year-old woman from Leiston who died following a crash in New Street, Woodbridge, has been named by police.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages