A group of five directors who ran three landbanking companies have been disqualified for a total of 53 years following an investigation by The Insolvency Service.
The companies collected over £7m from approximately 80 investors using “intimidating and high pressure” sales tactics.
Scott Assemakis, David Evans, Gavin Walter Gravesande, James William Murphy Dominic and James Whatley were directors of Ultraclass Limited, which traded as The Property Partnership, Burnhill Land Investments Limited and RTW (Burnhill) Limited, and which sold plots of land including areas of flood plain and of the green belt.
Mark Bruce, chief examiner at The Insolvency Service, said: “The scale of losses for the unfortunate victims over these three companies is quite disgraceful.
“Those who tried to reduce their losses by pulling out of the scheme were met with underhand tactics. The Insolvency Service is determined to come down hard on directors who set out to rip people off by deliberately misrepresenting the investment opportunity on offer.”
Many of the land plots were sold to investors for more than 10 times their original purchase prices, despite being sold within a few months of purchase with total sales estimated at around £6,778,316.
The sites themselves were either on green belt land, conservation sites, at high risk of flooding, in landscape protection areas or adjacent to areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The investigation also uncovered deficiencies in the books and records of all three companies.
Assemakis and Evans – directors of all three companies – were disqualified for 11 years, Gravesande – director of Ultraclass Limited, trading as The Property Partnership – was disqualified for 11 years, Murphy – director of Burnhill Land Investments Limited – was disqualified for 10 years and Whatley – director of RTW (Burnhill) Limited – was disqualified for 10 years.