Fraud conviction and 2 year prison sentence for former insolvency practitioner
In late 2011 Griffins Insolvency Litigation and Forensics were called in by Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to investigate the conduct of William Evan Price, a former insolvency practitioner from South Wales. On being appointed there were no records or even a clear list of the insolvencies that Mr Price was dealing with and he was not responding to requests for information. Griffins therefore moved to contact directors and debtors using public records. Very quickly it became clear that Mr Price had been handling significant sums of money for which he had been failing to account.
In the case of one bankrupt, he described his attempts to pay off all his creditors. At the request of Mr Price he had met him in a lay-by near Mr Price’s home and handed over tens of thousands in cash and cheques. Most of this money had not made its way into the client account and no creditors had been paid off.
In another case, ICAEW had identified that Mr Price had paid himself over £80,000 in fees without the approval of creditors. He was ordered by them to disclose the fees and seek retrospective agreement from them to repay them in full. Instead Mr Price closed the liquidation and applied to have the company struck off the register. Griffins applied to restore the company and successfully recover the sums misappropriated.
In December 2011 Griffins obtained court orders to carry out a search and seizure of documents at the home of Mr Price from where he also traded. The documents obtained were essential in proving the level of dishonesty and Griffins immediately reported their findings to criminal investigators at DBEIS. Mr Price was then made bankrupt and his house was sold to part repay his victims. Mr Price was also made subject to an 11 year Bankruptcy Restriction Order.
In 2013 Griffins issued proceedings against Royal & Sun Alliance he provided a Bond to Mr Price to cover losses relating to any dishonesty or fraud committed by him. That action was quickly settled with a large payment being made to the estates that had suffered losses. That legal action was also the catalyst to an investigation by the Insolvency Service into the scope and terms of the Bonds provided by Licensed Insolvency Practitioners. Griffins identified a defect in the terms of the Bond that did not meet the statutory requirements of such Bonds. As a result of that investigation the defect in the Bond was rectified. The Insolvency Service is continuing its review of Bonding and consultations are expected to be had imminently.
As for the bankrupt in the lay-by, we are pleased to say that the Bond covered all of the costs of paying creditors and the investigation and his bankruptcy is in the process of being annulled.