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Bankrupt director given suspended sentence 7 June 2011

Peter Stephen Matthews, of Suffolk, the former director of a home improvement company, was sentenced to three months suspended for 12 months plus 180 hours community service, after an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

He was also fined £5,000 as the case reached a conclusion at Cambridge Crown Court last week. The investigation found that creditors had lost out to the tune of £24,000 due to his actions.

Matthews pleaded guilty to the removal of property after a creditor had obtained a judgement against him for a debt.

He had been the director of Heathcroft Homes Improvements and upon the winding up of this company in 2009, he became liable for the firm’s debts as a result of personal guarantees he had given to trade creditors.

Despite being served with a court judgement relating to these debts, he failed to pay these creditors after he sold the family home.

Instead, he transferred the proceeds to his partner and the funds were never recovered. The court heard that Matthews spent some of the funds on advance rent and general living expenses for his family.

The court was also shown bank statements revealing that Matthews bought a car for £5,500 and paid £3,000 for holidays for various family members.

The bank accounts revealed transactions between Matthews' account and a new business, H I Solutions, owned by his partner, through which he continued to provide his services as a window fitter. Funds were not used to satisfy either Matthews' trade or personal creditors.

Stephen Speed, chief executive of The Insolvency Service said: “People genuinely struggling with debt who want to benefit from the debt relief arrangements offered by the insolvency regime must be prepared to declare all of their assets, or face the penalty imposed on them.”

Ian West, an investigator with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said:"Mr Matthews' sentence sends a clear message to bankrupts who fail to keep to the terms of their bankruptcy order."



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