A pair of married property directors have been ordered by the courts to pay back £182,000 having abused the company’s bank account.
Husband and wife, Dawn and Jacob Goulde, of Hatch End, North West London, were the directors of London and Berkshire Limited. Incorporated in August 2009, the company was concerned with property valuation and surveying.
Just six years later, however, London and Berkshire was shut down by the courts in June 2015 following a petition by the tax authorities to wind-up the company.
The Official Receiver was appointed by the court to undertake the liquidation, as well as carry out investigations into why the company failed and the conduct of the directors.
Investigations established that Dawn and Jacob had personally benefited from payments taken out of the company’s bank accounts of at least £182,000. The payments were made between January 2010 and April 2013 and the couple were unable to justify them.
Over the same period, the Gouldes also failed to file any tax returns on behalf of the company, resulting in the tax authorities having to raise outstanding charges of just under £200,000. The sum also included arrears for unpaid corporate tax and employee contributions.
Further enquiries by the Official Receiver found that the company only made one payment of just over £6,000 to the tax authorities throughout the life of London and Berkshire.
On 6 February 2019, the Official Receiver obtained a court judgement committing the Gouldes to payback just over £182,000 – the money taken from the company that they had personally benefited from – plus costs.
Neither Goulde was present at the hearing nor did they send representatives and in their absence, Judge Jones described the sums taken from the company were ‘gratuitous, unjustified payments’.
Anthony Hannon, the Official Receiver, said: “Running a limited company doesn’t give you license to treat it as a cash cow but that’s exactly what Dawn and Jacob Goulde did when they removed thousands of pounds for their own benefit. They also completely failed to pay the taxes, other than a token amount, in just another clear example of their dereliction of duty.
“Securing back the money Dawn and Jacob unreasonably took will benefit London and Berkshire’s creditors, while also serving as a strong warning to others who think they can do the same that we will obtain redress through the courts against those who abuse their director responsibilities.”