Jailed for six years: Fraudulent property director with six aliases

Jailed for six years: Fraudulent property director with six aliases


A property company director, who had at least six different aliases, has been sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of ‘incomprehensible dishonestly’.

Huntingdon Crown Court sentenced Richard Neil Grout for fraud; fraudulent trading; failing to cooperate with the Official Receiver (Northampton); perjury and acting as a director of a company whilst disqualified.


The criminal prosecution by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills followed an investigation by The Insolvency Service.


Glenn Wicks, Deputy Chief Investigation Officer for BIS said: “The length of the sentence handed down to Mr Grout sends a clear and simple message - breaching bankruptcy laws, fraudulent behaviour and perverting the course of justice are serious matters which will not be tolerated and anyone found guilty of these criminal offences can expect a serious punishment.”


Mr Grout, 47, from Milton Keynes, commonly known as Richard Van de Groot, but with six other aliases; Richard Van Der Grout; Richard de Grout; Richard Winters; Richard Van der Saar and Reuben Bilj, pleaded guilty to 12 criminal charges.


He admitted he set up and ran a number of businesses including UIC Limited; Concourse Property Limited; Woburn Property Limited and Equus Areans Limited in a way that was deceitful and put the company’s creditors at risk.


During his business activities Mr Grout claimed memberships of certain trade bodies when no membership existed and alleged to make payments by cheque knowing the accounts the cheques would be drawn on were closed.


The court also heard that Mr Grout acted as director of a number of companies even though he was bankrupt and therefore disqualified from doing so. He hid his bankruptcy by using different names on company documents than the name the bankruptcy order was in.


To provide appropriate proof of identity Mr Grout went to the effort of changing the names on his passport and driving licence several times.


As well as being given a prison sentence, Mr Grout has been further disqualified from acting as a company director for 10 years. After hearing how a number of his businesses had collapsed owing creditors tens of thousands of pounds, and employees their wages, Judge Coleman said he “showed a flagrant disregard for proper business practice” and “created emotional turmoil for his employees”.


Stephen Speed, Chief Executive of The Insolvency Service, said: “Any company or individual who had the misfortune to do ‘business’ with Mr Grout should be reassured by the sentence he received today. The Insolvency Service works hard to remove dishonest, reckless and irresponsible people from the business environment and when we find wrong doing the consequences can be serious as Mr Grout has found out, reflecting the importance of the insolvency regime.”


By Shelley DeBere

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