Builder sentenced for illegally managing new companies

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Michael Ashton (63), of Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on 20 January before HHJ Fletcher where he was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

The court heard that in October 2013, Michael Ashton was disqualified from acting as a director for 5 years. This ban was in relation to his conduct while a director of CNT Ancillaries Ltd after he failed to ensure the company maintained adequate accounting records.

Michael Ashton, however, continued to act as a director in breach of his ban and run building companies. The offences were uncovered when a different company – ‘MA Partitioning, Ceilings & Joinery Limited’ – entered into liquidation in May 2015.

Investigations by the Insolvency Service found that during various periods from October 2013 until June 2015, Michael Ashton acted as director of several companies: MA Partitioning, Ceilings & Joinery Limited, Ceilings and Joinery Limited, CNT Joinery Limited and MA Joinery Limited.

Michael Ashton received an additional 10-year disqualification in May 2017 for acting as a director when banned from doing so.

The second disqualification triggered a criminal investigation by the Insolvency Service, which led to Michael Ashton appearing at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court at an earlier hearing on 3 December 2020 where he pleaded guilty to three charges of running companies while being a banned director.

At Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court Michael Ashton was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, as well as being, ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £2,500.

Julie Barnes, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

Michael Ashton knew the restrictions he faced when he was banned in 2013. However, he paid scant regard to his restrictions, continuing to work as a director and play an important role in the activities of his companies in direct contravention of his disqualification.

We take offences such as these very seriously and where appropriate, will not hesitate to bring before the courts those who continue to act in the management of companies whilst banned from doing so.

Notes to editors

Michael Ashton is from Stoke on Trent and his date of birth is July 1957.

He pleaded guilty to the following offences:

  • Between 7 October 2013 and 6 May 2015, being subject to a disqualification undertaking, directly or indirectly were concerned or took part in the management of a company, namely MA Partitioning, Ceilings & Joinery Limited, without the leave of the court.
  • Between 7 October 2013 and 14 May 2015, being subject to a disqualification undertaking, directly or indirectly were concerned or took part in the management of a company, namely CNT Joinery Limited, without the leave of the court.
  • Between 1 May 2015 and 9 June 2015, being subject to a disqualification undertaking, directly or indirectly were concerned or took part in the management of a company, namely MA Joinery Limited, without the leave of the court.

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