Search

Hornchurch property boss ‘lost £1.2m belonging to British troops’

15:00 30 January 2013

More than 300 soldiers lost money when the business went into liquidation in 2011. Picture: PA

More than 300 soldiers lost money when the business went into liquidation in 2011. Picture: PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A property boss who lost £1.2m belonging to more than 300 British troops has been disqualified from running a business for nine years, a government regulator has revealed.

Paul Smith, director of Blue Force Property Limited - a letting agency in Hornchurch - cannot act as a director of a limited company from February 11 this year to February 11 2022, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service (IS).

Blue Force Property was set up in 2004 exclusively to help armed forces personnel buy and let homes while serving overseas or living in forces’ accommodation.

Mr Smith, 47, of Manningtree, Essex, and his staff repeatedly assured the soldiers that cash would be held securely in individual ring-fenced accounts, according to the IS.

But in reality the company, which managed lettings and collected rents, moved funds from these client accounts into its own trading account and that of an associated company,

When the company went into liquidation in March 2011 there was a £1.2million gap in the books - all owed to soldiers.

David Brooks, a chief examiner for government body, said: “Many of the people who lost out as a result of this company’s demise were stationed overseas and had no choice but to trust Blue Force to look after their affairs on their behalf. This trust was broken and the money – money that many of them had risked their lives to earn - was lost.

“Directors who seek to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors by using clients’ funds to prop up their own accounts will be investigated. This behaviour is unfair to those who play by the rules and protect their clients’ funds and, most of all, it is unfair to the clients who risk losing their money.

“The Insolvency Service will seek to remove these people from the business environment.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 18:38
Off-target: The A&E at Queen's

A worrying increase in people attending hospital A&E departments last month has led to patients facing longer and longer waits.

Yesterday, 12:04
The westbound A13 is closed at the junction with Ferry Lane [Photograph from Google StreetView]

The A13 was closed near Ferry Lane yesterday as police discovered a dead body in a car.

Yesterday, 11:47
myplace, Harold Hill, in April 2012, the last time the show came to Havering

Immigration, Facebook and class war were hotly debated in an episode of the BBC’s flagship debating programme from Harold Hill last night.

Yesterday, 10:00
Planned engineering work could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Most read news

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

News from your area

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition

The comedian returned to his home town for the prestigious award ceremony.

The helicopter crashed through the roof of the Clutha pub.

Twitter sat back and watched as the world went bargain-hunting crazy on Black Friday.

There was definitely something buzzing at JCB when he delivered his immigration speech.