Successful businessman was caught trading fraudulently trading
AN OUTWARDLY successful and respectable businessman fraudulently used another company to disguise his role in the running of two insurance firms he owned.
Jayson Hollier and accountant Andrew Booth then both lied about his involvement with the businesses during a hearing in the High Court, a jury at Warwick Crown Court was told.
Hollier, 39, of Emscote Road, Warwick, at the time he was charged, had denied four charges of fraudulent trading and two of perjury.
But at the end of a 13-week trial he was convicted of one fraudulent trading charge and both perjury charges.
He was cleared by the jury, who spent five days reaching their verdicts, of fraudulent trading charges relating to Shakespeare Underwriting Ltd and CIA Insurance Services Ltd.
And during the trial Hollier, his solicitor mother Linda Letchford, and Booth, 59, of Colton Street, Leicester, had all been found not guilty on the judge’s directions of a charge relating to a company called Oxlowes Properties Ltd. Letchford, 59, of Cromwell Lane, Coventry, was also cleared at that stage of the only other charge she faced of aiding and abetting the fraudulent trading of CIA Insurance.
The jury found Booth guilty of fraudulent trading charges relating to Shakespeare Underwriting Ltd and Bentley Group Ltd, but not guilty to the charge relating to CIA.
He was also convicted of two perjury charges and the theft of £45,000 from Shakespeare Underwriting’s bank account.
The case against the two men was adjourned for pre-sentence reports to be prepared on them, and they were granted bail, although Judge Amjad Nawaz said custodial sentences would be a consideration.
During the trial prosecutor Jonathan Ashley-Norman told the jury Hollier ran the two insurance companies which were ‘substantial and successful,’ while Booth was a chartered accountant with an impressive work record.
Mr Ashley-Norman said the case had taken a long time to prepare, and spanned a five-year period in the commercial life of the defendants between 2002 and 2006.
“Mr Hollier has been a successful businessman in his time, and he built up a substantial business empire centred on the insurance industry.”
In 2001 he brought in Booth, who had been a senior employee at Axa Insurance, to act as his financial controller. Although they appointed directors to deal with the day-to-day running of the companies, Hollier was the owner and Booth his right-hand man who was given a free rein over the bank accounts of each company.
In the end so much money went out of Shakespeare that it was unable to meet its liabilities and was placed into administration, while withdrawals from CIA became so desperate that urgent steps had to be taken to prevent it being wound up.
“As the commercial life of both companies foundered, much to their surprise, the directors were told that in fact Hollier did not own the companies, but that they were owned by the Bentley Group Ltd. That was owned by Booth.
“But the prosecution case is that the purported sale was a device to distance Hollier from the ownership and control of the companies,” said Mr Ashley-Norman.
“It showed a tendency of Hollier and Booth to present any version of the truth which suited them at the time. But that deception was played not only on the directors, but on the court.”
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