The former head of a Birmingham logistics firm has been banned from being a company director for nine years after falsely claiming £1 million worth of work to secure advance payments from lenders.
Neil Hughes was managing director of Contact Transport, based in Garretts Green, which was founded in 1980 and specialised in haulage and parcel delivery services, counting major brands such as Amazon and UPS among its clients.
In 2011, Contact Transport was acquired by another company called Keelex 369 before it entered into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) that same year to help manage its debts, which completed in July 2015.
It was also awarded £500,000 of taxpayers' money in 2015 to help it secure new contracts within the 'final mile' division - the last leg of a product's journey before arriving with a customer.
The Insolvency Service said the company returned to profit between 2012 and 2014 but entered into a difficult trading period and fell behind in repaying its debts to their creditors, resulting in a winding up petition being filed against it in March 2017.
Contact Transport then became insolvent and administrators were appointed in April 2017.
The Insolvency Service said further investigations had found that Contact Transport had entered into an Invoice Discounting Agreement (IDA) with an external lender which allowed the company to get advances on cash they were owed from customers rather than waiting for them to pay.
But during an audit in April 2017, the lender became aware of discrepancies between what Contact Transport had claimed and what they were actually owed by their clients.
Investigators found that Mr Hughes, 51, had caused Contact Transport to claim funds for work that were higher in value than the work completed.
This resulted in the company securing increased levels of funding and cash flow to the value of just over £1 million.
He resigned as a director of Contact Transport in June this year before he provided a disqualification undertaking to the Secretary of State in July where he did not dispute he falsified claims to the lender.
He is now banned for nine years from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Martin Gitner, deputy head of insolvent investigations for the Insolvency Service, said: "Securing advanced payments is a legitimate method of sourcing working capital finance.
"However, Neil Hughes submitted false documents to wrongfully and deceptively claim more money than was actually owed to Contact Transport.
"Nine years is a significant ban and this should serve as a warning to other directors that the Insolvency Service has strong enforcement powers to remove dishonest or reckless directors from operating a business for a considerable amount of time."