Directors Hollier and Booth serve time for fraudulent trading and perjury


Two convicted insurance bosses were jailed for three years for fraudulent trading and perjury at Warwick Crown Court today.

Jayson Hollier and Andrew Booth, both directors of Warwickshire-based underwriting agency Shakespeare Underwriting, were found guilty of the offences in April after the business went bust in January 2006, owing insurers more than £2m.

Hollier was given two years for fraudulent trading in Shakespeare’s holding company the Bentley Group, and one year each for two counts of perjury to be served concurrently, totaling three years consecutively.

Booth also received two years for fraudulent trading in the Bentley Group, two years for fraudulent trading in relation to Shakespeare, and two years for a count of theft of £45,000, all to be served concurrently.

On top of that he was handed a one-year sentence each for two counts of perjury to be served concurrently.

Both were also disqualified from being company directors for seven years. Booth was currently serving a disqualification so he will be banned until 2019.

‘A fall from grace’

In summing up Judge Amjad Nawaz told a packed public gallery: “At the start of 2002 Jayson Hollier and Andrew Booth were businessmen and had forged successful careers for themselves.

“Before they (the companies) were worth significant sums of money estimated at millions of pounds.”

Nawad said that both had “fallen from grace, and fallen from grace spectacularly”.

In mitigation, Hollier’s defence counsel Bart Casella, said that his client had provided a steady income and support to many people over the past decade and that he was always willing to help a friend in need even when facing difficulties of his own.

“He was a valuable man in the business community,” he said.

Booth’s solicitor Christopher Henley said his client had had his chance in business and now all he had to look forward to was spending his 60th birthday behind bars.

“This was a man who had been put in charge of two substantial businesses and he fundamentally and spectacularly messed them both up,” he said.

Both Hollier and Booth will serve half of their time subject to not breaching their supervision conditions once released.

Shakespeare Underwriting had offices in Caerphilly, Romford and Rugby, and specialised in motorcycle, private car, household, commercial vehicle, and property.

The criminal case was brought after evidence was gathered by the criminal investigations and prosecutions team at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) raised suspicions.

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

Booth and Hollier dishonestly used a holding company called the Bentley Group to disguise Hollier’s ownership and control of Shakespeare and CIA.

‘Front man’

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.

In April this year Hollier 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 of fraudulent trading in the Bentley Group.

Booth 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.

Booth and Hollier were due to be sentenced in May, but this was adjourned until today so that Judge Nawaz could have psychiatric reports on Hollier.

Nawaz said Hollier and Booth were “bankrupt” and that BIS would not be seeking to confiscate their assets.