PI claims management company boss jailed for fraud

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The boss of a failing personal injury claims management company who plundered its accounts as it was being wound up has been sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Bury-based Darren Christopher Bullough appeared at Bolton Crown Court on 14 November after he pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulently removing funds and another count of failing to provide company books and records to the liquidator.

In the months before a winding-up order was made over a £658,000 unpaid tax bill, resulting in the closure of Direct Assist, Bullough’s personal injury claims management company with offices in Bury and Bolton, he fraudulently removed close to £51,000 over several months in 2014.

Around £28,000 went to family members, £3,600 worth of cash was removed from the company’s bank account and £18,500 was spent on Direct Assist’s credit card.

Bullough even made his first removal just one day after the winding-up petition for the failing claims management company was presented to the courts.

On top of his prison sentence, Bullough was also banned from becoming directly or indirectly involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company for seven years.

John Fitzsimmons, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, which pursued the case against Bullough, said: “Darren Bullough was well-known as someone who led an extravagant lifestyle, spending money on expensive property and fast cars. But he recklessly removed funds from his business knowing that Direct Assist was in financial difficulty.”

“We welcome the courts substantial sentence and their recognition of the severity of Darren Bullough’s offences as not only was this money not his to do with as he pleased but by removing the funds, he denied payment that was rightfully owed to the company’s creditors.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk