Investors in Ely holiday homes among those left out of pocket as former owner banned for 14 years from running a business
- Credit: Archant
The former boss of a holiday park firm – that included the Lazy Otter site near Ely - has been banned from running companies for 14 years after investors were left £19m out of pocket.
Walsham Chalet Park Ltd, which traded as Dream Lodge, went into liquidation in 2019 owing money to around 1,100 investors.
Apart from Ely it had holiday parks in North Walsham and Bury St Edmunds, which are now under new management.
One customer of the firm’s Lazy Otter Meadows site told this newspaper earlier this year that he had been left “seriously out of pocket” after giving money over to Dream Lodges.
The company ran a scheme where people could invest in part or an entire holiday lodge and would receive returns based on the holiday rental income.
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But after it went into liquidation, Deloitte heard from creditors that included 161 people who had paid the £14.2m for holiday chalets that were never built.
They also found that 30 investors had paid £1.8m to invest in chalets in Gloucestershire, but the company did not own the site.
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It flagged its findings to the Insolvency Service and now director Simon Moir, 58, has been disqualified from acting as a director for 14 years.
Sue Macleod, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Mr Moir presided over a scheme where people thought they were investing in holiday chalets with the promise of generous financial returns.
“But it was nothing more than a ruse and Simon Moir’s actions have caused substantial losses to investors, many of whom have lost their life savings.”
The Insolvency Service said Mr Moir should have been aware that the lodges had not been built and that there was little or no prospect of them being completed.
Mr Moir caused further misconduct, the Insolvency Service said, when he instructed Walsham Chalet Park’s employees to send false accounts to the company’s bank to secure the bank’s continued support.
Walsham Chalet Park Limited was incorporated in 1966 and ran eight holiday parks.
Mr Moir was appointed as a director of the company in 1998.
But the company began to struggle and by January 2019, Walsham Chalet Park entered administration before being placed into creditors voluntary liquidation later.