A disqualified director has been banned a second time after illegally running a Yeovil restaurant using a former colleague as a stooge boss.
Jane Goodfellow has received a second, 12-year ban and Clare Watts is banned for five years for allowing Goodfellow to run the Wine Vaults in Yeovil, Somerset, and acting as a stooge director.
Yeovil Wine Vaults as a company was incorporated in October 2013 with Watts appointed the sole director. However, the restaurant entered into liquidation not even four years later in March 2017 after it could not pay its debts.
Liquidators appointed to wind up Yeovil Wine Vaults reported concerns to the Insolvency Service. Following further enquiries, investigators were able to establish that although Watts was the registered director, Goodfellow was the person running the show dealing with regulators, the local authority, employees and suppliers.
However, she was already subject to an 11-year disqualification order handed down by the courts in March 2006 in connection with her conduct as a director of Peaceflight, a printing company, where both Watts and Goodfellow previously worked.
Further investigations established that both Goodfellow and Watts failed to ensure Yeovil Wine Vaults filed annual returns, and were remiss in paying tax or filing tax returns throughout the company’s entire trading period.
On 22 February 2019, the Secretary of State accepted disqualification undertakings from both Goodfellow and Watts, with their bans coming into effect from 15 March 2019.
Dave Elliott, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “When Jane Goodfellow appeared in court more than 10 years ago, she would have been made fully aware by the judge that she was explicitly banned from acting in the management of a company. But Jane Goodfellow thought she could get round her disqualification when she got her former colleague to act as a stooge director, leaving her to run the restaurant as she pleased.
“However, as the restaurant collapsed their misdemeanours came to light, resulting in significant bans for the both of them. This result should make it very clear to disqualified directors who ignore their bans and continue to act as directors, as well as those who assist them, that they will be vigorously pursued by the Insolvency Service.”