Four firms, 8 names, 6 years in prison

standard web pics to use on the Milton Keynes Citizen website
standard web pics to use on the Milton Keynes Citizen website

A CONMAN who worked under seven different aliases has been sent to prison.

Richard Grout, 47, was sentenced to six years in prison following years of ‘incomprehensible dishonesty’ as a company director of four different firms.

Grout, also known as Richard van de Groot, Richard van der Groot, Richard de Groot, Richard Winters, Richard Van der Saar and Reuben Bilj, acted as director of a number of companies even though he had been made bankrupt.

His businesses included UIC Limited – which was wound up in November 2006 owing almost £78,000 to various debtors – Concourse Property Services, Woburn Property Limited and Equus Arenas Limted.

Grout had claimed membership of trade bodies he wasn’t involved with, made payments with cheques knowing the accounts they were drawn on were closed and concealed his bankruptcy by using different names on company documents – even changing his name on his passport and driving licence several times to match each new identity.

Concourse Property Services was wound up in September 2008 on the petition of construction plant hire company owed £9,256.39, while Woburn Property accumulated more than £25,000 worth of debt.

During that time Grout also claimed to be a member of the Federation of Master Builders – which he wasn’t – and completed building work to an unsatisfactory standard.

At Huntingdon Crown Court on Tuesday he was sent to prison for six years for fraud, fraudulent trading, failing to co-operate with the Official Receiver (Northampton), perjury and acting as a director of a company while disqualified.

He had previously pleaded guilty to 12 criminal charges in September. The prosecution, undertaken by the Department for Business, followed an investigation by The Insolvency Service.

The service’s chief executive Stephen Speed 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.”