Upton barred as company director until 2027

A crooked accountant whose company was liquidated with debts of almost £2million after he ripped off droves of IT contractors and other clients has been disqualified by The Insolvency Service.

Darren Upton, ex-director of Upton & Co Accountants Ltd, which collapsed owing £1,795,818, has been banned from promoting, managing or being the director of a limited company until 2027.

The 41-year-old was handed a six-year jail sentence last February after being convicted of 13 fraud offences, relating to him receiving £196,000 from clients who thought the money was going to HM Revenue & Customs for their corporation tax payments.

Upton, who operated out of Wakefield in Yorkshire, last month chose not to dispute carrying out the fraud (over a 17-month period), nor did he dispute that his company accepted £5m from investors who thought they were investing in currency markets.

Although his company’s bank account was frozen by the Financial Services Authority shortly afterwards, more than £1m remains owed to investors, despite Upton & Co not being authorised to run the scheme, which never existed.

The Insolvency Service has therefore imposed a 14-year disqualification order on Upton which has the effect that, without the need for court proceedings, he cannot act as a company director nor take part (even indirectly) in forming or managing a company or an LLP.

He is also under additional restrictions including being prohibited from acting as an insolvency practitioner or the receiver of a company’s property.

Reflecting on the disqualification, the official receiver of The Insolvency Service’s public interest unit Ken Beasley said: “Mr Upton’s actions were dishonest and clearly show that he is unfit to be a director of a limited company.

“The disqualification serves as a protection to the public and demonstrates that The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers to remove dishonest directors from the business environment.”

As well as Upton & Co’s 800 or so clients, notable victims of what the judge who jailed him called Mr Upton’s “own selfish greed,” include a long list of shareholders and creditors – among them IT contractors – including one who attended the accountant’s wedding.

Known to have enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, featuring luxury hotels and an apartment for a mistress who reportedly thought he was single, the father-of-one breached a restraint order by refinancing his Bentley, and his wife’s Maserati, cars collectively estimated to be worth over £140,000.  

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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