Wakefield accountant banned for 14 years

A WAKEFIELD accountant has been banned from acting as a company director for 14 years for falsely obtaining money from investors.

Darren Upton, duped clients into paying his company funds that should have been handed over to the taxman, or invested in a fictitious scheme, according to the Insolvency Service.

Upton was director of Upton & Co Accountants, which was placed into voluntary liquidation on 14 October 2011 owing creditors and shareholders about £1.8m.

The Insolvency Service said Upton did not dispute that he had obtained £196,000 from clients by providing them with false bank details in which to make payments for their tax liabilities, which he then failed to forward onto HMRC.

He also took money from investors to invest in a false scheme. Upton accepted about £5.3m from clients to invest in currency markets. However, the FSA froze the company’s accounts because it surmised there was no currency scheme similar to what had been described to investors. Because the company was not authorised to operate such a scheme £1m remains owning to investors.

Following the investigation by the FSA (Financial Services Authority) Upton was convicted of 13 offences of fraud relating to conduct in the company and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on 9 February 2012.

Upton’s latest sentencing from the Insolvency Service will run concurrently alonside his prison term.

Ken Beasley, official receiver of the Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said: “Mr Upton’s actions were dishonest and clearly show that he is unfit to be a director of a limited company.

“The disqualification serves as a protection to the public and demonstrates that the Insolvency Service will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers to remove dishonest directors from the business environment.”

In October last year, Upton was ordered to pay more than £132,000 or face two more years in jail. During his sentencing in February 2012 at Leeds Crown Court, it was revealed he had used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle including a secret mistress and a box at Leeds United football ground.

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