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Ex-director handed suspended sentence and hefty fine after defrauding theatre

PUBLISHED: 13:56 03 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:56 03 October 2020

Inside The Princes Theatre in Clacton which was defrauded by David Eve. Picture: TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL

Inside The Princes Theatre in Clacton which was defrauded by David Eve. Picture: TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL

Archant

The director of a theatre ticketing firm has been ordered to pay up after being convicted of fraudulent trading over money owed to an Essex theatre.

David Eve, 46, of Great Totham, was the sole director of Standing Ovation Entertainments Ltd.

He was found guilty of one charge of knowingly carrying on a business with intent to defraud creditors of that company between January 1, 2015 and June 1, 2017 after a two week trial earlier this year.

Earlier this year, Eve was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court for a single charge of knowingly carrying on a business with intent to defraud creditors of that company after a two-week trial.

On Friday October 2, Judge Christopher Morgan gave Eve a 15-month prison sentence – suspended for two years.

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He also ordered him to pay £108,942 in compensation and £35,800 towards prosecution costs, and disqualified him from being the director of a company for three years.

His Honour Morgan said: “You were a man who could not admit to yourself that your company was in difficulty. The honest businessman when they reached a certain point would have advised his creditors. You were unable to make that decision.

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“You buried your good character in an effort to wait and see if you could turn things around and increase the profits and eventually the amount of money you would earn. But you did so in effect risking public money.”

Standing Ovation Entertainments Ltd provided the box office for the TDC-run Princes Theatre from October 2012 until January 2017.

At trial the court heard Eve had used cash from ticket sales to pay off debts rather than handing it over to TDC. He had continued to operate the business, and failed to inform TDC of the company’s financial problems, despite continuing to make losses.

When questioned by TDC over the issues, he put forward a repayment plan lasting ten years.

The judge described the plan as trying to “bully your way out” with a “ludicrous” settlement figure.

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Overall the company owed TDC around £112,000, though just more than £3,000 has since been repaid as part of the liquidation of Standing Ovation Entertainments.

Miles Bennett, prosecuting, said the debt equated to 14% of the total running costs of the theatre and equated to 669 Band D households’ council tax or the annual running costs of homeless accommodation for 20 weeks of the year.

In mitigation, Eve’s barrister Jonathan Ashley-Norman QC said his client was of previous good character, and a family man.

After the hearing, Neil Stock, leader of TDC, said the council was now looking to move on from the situation.


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