Husband and wife - now separated - who ran One Click Ventures of Waterbeach disqualified as directors after £500,000 Royal Mail fraud
11:09 02 February 2016
East Cambs businessman Priyesh Rawal – who narrowly escaped jail after admitting his role in a £500,000 fraud and now lives in Uganda- has been disqualified from acting as a company director for 12 years.
His former wife, Shaina Saleem Shipton (also known as Shaina Saleem Patel) of Cambridge has been disqualified from acting as a director for three and a half years following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
The inquiry showed that while they were directors of One Click Ventures Limited of Pembroke Avenue, Waterbeach – that at one time boosted an annual turnover of £18million- the company defrauded Royal Mail Group Limited to the tune of £523,769.
The investigation found Rawal, 31, caused One Click Ventures Limited to defraud Royal Mail by falsifying information in relation to the number of packages despatched. The company operated as on line mail order retailer of pharmaceuticals
Shipton, 30, who was the operations director, failed to act responsibly resulting in the company improperly operating an online business account facility with Royal Mail.
Both Rawal and Shipton were the only directors from the start to the end of trading in December 2012. The company ceased trading after Royal Mail obtained a restraint order following audits and investigation of suspicious activity.
It had estimated assets totalling £10,500 and liabilities totalling £974,750 at liquidation.
Rawal was found guilty of fraud, received a suspended sentence and 250 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay compensation. No criminal findings were made against Shipton.
The Insolvency Service concluded that Rawal “personally knowingly and deliberately” failed to declare the true number of packages through Royal Mail by One Click.
Cheryl Lambert, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “Directors have a duty to ensure that the procedures they construct and oversee comply with the law”
Rawal constructed a fraudulent trading operation resulting in over £500,000 being wrongly extracted.
“Rawal took advantage of systems designed to reduce time delays and cost to UK business for his own personal benefit,” she said.
Shipton did not ensure that the necessary controls and procedures were in place to prevent the implementation of dishonest business practices.
“She had executive responsibility for an operation that obtained money by systematically providing false information,” said Ms Lambert. “This is activity that goes to the very core and basis of the economic system.”
At his trial Rawal was said by the judge to have been driven by a combination of “inexperience and naivety.”
Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told him: “You are not and never have been a fraudster by nature.”
Rawal was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid community work; there is separate action to reclaim the money.