Plant hire boss disqualified for £1.3m false invoices scam

Businessman Adrian Venni was banned from being a director for nine years Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Businessman Adrian Venni was banned from being a director for nine years Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A businessman who submitted false invoices and cheques totalling more than £1.3 million to obtain credit has been disqualified as a company director for nine years.

Adrian Venni, aged 51, of Bury St Edmunds, was director of King's Lynn-based Anthill Plant Hire Ltd and provided the information to a factoring company in 2017 which ended up more than £800,000 out of pocket.

Factoring companies purchase invoices from a business as a way of providing credit.

Anthill was established in 2012 and hired plant and machinery to the construction and agricultural industries.

However it ran into financial difficulties after committing to equipment hire agreements to service a number of long-term projects.

Cash flow was also hit by the short-term closure of a recycling plant the company operated at Lakenheath in Suffolk and which provided a regular income.

As a result the company came under increasing working capital and creditor pressure.

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The Insolvency Service said that between March 24 and May 3 of 2017 Vanni submitted details of five false invoices totalling £524,540, and seven false cheques purporting to have been received from customers totalling £778,538.

Based on the information he provided, the factoring comnpany released funds it would not have otherwise provided.

It lost £845,826 after Anthill went into administration and ceased trading in July 2017, owing creditors more than £1million.

The Insolvency Service said Vanni also sold two excavators, that were still on finance, for £90,000.

However none of the money was paid to the finance company, which recovered the vehicles and caused the purchaser a loss of at least £108,000.

In receiving a nine-year ban, Venni did not dispute any of the matters of unfitness as set out by the Insolvency Service.

David Brooks, group leader of insolvent investigations for the Insolvency Service, said: "Factoring companies provide a vital service to companies experiencing cashflow difficulties, alleviating short term financial problems and allowing them to continue trading. This director grossly abused this service.

"The disqualification will severely curtail his activities for many years to come."