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Bankrupt man had role as a director
7:00am Sunday 20th October 2013 in News
A BUSINESSMAN has avoided a jail sentence for carrying on as a company director despite being bankrupt.
A court heard Philip Cooper was made bankrupt in November last year with a condition he could not act as a company director.
But Chelmsford Crown Court heard checks at Companies House in June revealed Cooper was still registered as a director with two firms.
And the court also heard 50-year-old Cooper had been the victim of harassment since being made bankrupt.
Cooper admitted two offences of acting as a director of companies Optimum Services Display Ltd and The Lost Beach Boy Ltd, between November 5, 2012 and July 27, 2013 while an undischarged bankrupt.
He also admitted fraud by falsely representing he was authorised to charge VAT on May 1 in the name Philip Cooper Consultant.
Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC said whether he intended to carry on as a director or not, it didn’t matter, because it was a “strict liability offence”.
Cooper, of Chignell Hall Lane, Chignel St James, was jailed for four months, suspended for 18 months, and given an 80-hour unpaid work order when he appeared in court.
The judge said the suspended sentence would be a reminder “to keep your business affairs in lawful order”.
The judge also said a £2,000 invoice plus £500 VAT linked to the case was never paid, so there was no loser.
Prosecutor Samantha Lowther said Lost Beach Boy Ltd was formed in September 2012 and Optimum Performance Display Ltd in March 2012.
On November 6 last year Cooper was made bankrupt on his own petition, but checks showed he was still registered with both firms.
In May he worked for a media company as a consultant and used Optimum’s VAT registered number on the invoice, Mrs Lowther said.
She also told the court Cooper initially said he thought resignation was “automatic” but it was discovered he had filled out a form in November 2012 for Lost Beach Boy.
This was never received by Companies House, but it did show he did know resignation was not automatic, Mrs Lowther said.
Cooper said both companies “didn’t really do anything” before he was made bankrupt.
His barrister, Caroline Moonan told the court it was “a sin by omission”.
He had been a successful businessman, but went bankrupt due to a few bad decisions.
She added: “Since he’s been made bankrupt he’s been trying to keep his head above water, trying to obtain work to keep a roof over their heads.
“In addition, he’s been victim of a campaign of harassment by an individual who had advised friends and family to invest in him.
“This individual initially accused him of fraud which was investigated by police. There was no fraud, simply bad business dealings, but since then there’s been a campaign of harassment, people visiting his house.
“When he left court on the last occasion he was chased and an officer will escort him out today.
“His wife has been terrorised and there’s been an awful lot on his mind since the bankruptcy and unfortunately sorting things out as far as being a director has not been as high up on his list of priorities as it should have been.”
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