Ex-directors found guilty of fraudulent trading at firm that went bust owing insurers £2m

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Two ex-directors of failed agency Shakespeare Underwriting face jail after being found guilty of fraudulent trading and perjury.

Shakespeare owed insurers about £2m when it went into administration in January 2006.

The Warwickshire-based underwriting agency had offices in Caerphilly, Romford and Rugby. It specialised in motorcycle, private car, household, commercial vehicle, and property.

At Warwick Crown Court, Jayson Hollier, 40, was found guilty of two counts of perjury relating to Shakespeare and CIA Insurance Services at the High Court in May 2006.

He was also found guilty last Thursday of fraudulent trading in the Bentley Group, a holding company.

Andrew Booth, 60, was found guilty of fraudulent trading for Shakespeare, fraudulent trading for the Bentley Group, theft of £45,000, and two counts of perjury relating
to Shakespeare and CIA at the High Court in May 2006.

Hollier’s mother, Linda Letchford, 59, was also charged with fraudulent trading, but this was dismissed at the close of the prosecution case.

The case was brought after an Insolvency Service investigation.

The court heard that Booth took large sums of money from the company, some of which went to Hollier. After the losses forced the company into administration, Booth stole £45,000 from the failing firm.

The jury found that Booth and Hollier dishonestly used the Bentley Group to disguise Hollier’s ownership and control of Shakespeare and CIA.

It also found that Booth had acted as Hollier’s ‘front man’, or nominee, for each company. The jury found that each had lied under oath when giving evidence about this in High Court company directors’ disqualification proceedings.

Hollier and Booth will be sentenced in May.

Pass notes: Court cases

Which other insurance cases are ongoing?

Zurich started a landmark Supreme Court case yesterday that it hopes will cut rising third-party liability fraud. Zurich is disputing a £838,000 claim by Shaun Summers that the insurer believes contains fraud.

Why is this case significant?

At the moment, insurers have to pay out for the non-fraudulent elements of these claims, even when fraud has been proven. Zurich wants the court to set a precedent by disallowing the allegedly fraudulent aspects of this claim and also strike out the rest of the claim.