A Brighton “film producer” faces 10 more years of bankruptcy restrictions for hiding three bank accounts and a £180,000 salary despite having gone bust with debts of £5 million.
Steven Clifford Wilkinson, known as Steve Wilkinson, was made bankrupt at Brighton County Court in February 2013.
The 47-year-old has been accused of raising millions of pounds from investors for films that never get made along with a colleague, 52-year-old Michael Cowan.
In one case, £6 million was raised but only £3 million could be traced by official investigators from the government’s Insolvency Service.
Companies such as Warlord Productions, of Regent Hill, Brighton, and Spice Factory UK, of Regency House, in Western Road, Brighton, claimed to have signed up big names.
The stars included George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Travolta, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Gerard Depardieu, Albert Finney, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ray Winstone and Vinnie Jones.
But the claims were not true and the companies have been shut down by the courts.
Yesterday (Monday 13 November) the Insolvency Service said: “Steven Clifford Wilkinson will be bound by bankruptcy restrictions for 10 years having failed to disclose income and the existence of three bank accounts.
“An Insolvency Service investigation found Mr Wilkinson, formerly of Brighton and Polegate, in Sussex, failed to disclose income of £180,964 during the 12 months in which he was subject to bankruptcy and the existence of three bank accounts that he held at the date of his bankruptcy.
“Mr Wilkinson gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to be bound for 10 years by the restrictions until 4 October 2027.
“In addition, he cannot manage or control a company during this period without leave of the court.
“The undisclosed income and bank accounts came to light during the official receiver’s investigation into Warlord Productions Ltd, a company with which Mr Wilkinson had some involvement.
“The company was wound up by the High Court in July 2015 on a petition presented by the secretary of state in the public interest.
“In April 2012 Mr Wilkinson entered into an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA).
“The arrangement failed and so the IVA supervisor presented a petition for his bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy order was made in the county court at Brighton on 1 February 2013.
“The deficiency to creditors was £5,172,044.
“At the date of the bankruptcy order Mr Wilkinson was in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance but that ceased shortly afterwards and during the 12 months of bankruptcy he received income totaling £180,964.
“Because the income and bank accounts were not disclosed by Mr Wilkinson, the creditors have been deprived of a possible return of some money.”
Anthony Hannon, official receiver in the public interest unit, said: “Mr Wilkinson attended on the official receiver shortly after the making of the bankruptcy order and was made aware of his duty to disclose all his assets.
“He disclosed the existence of a single bank current account but failed to disclose three further ‘wealth accounts’ held at the bank.
“He was also made aware of his duty to disclose full details of his income during the 12 months that he would be subject to the restrictions of bankruptcy.
“This duty exists so that the official receiver or trustee can decide whether to claim some of the income over and above what is needed for the bankrupt’s living expenses for the benefit of creditors.
“This ten years restriction should act as a deterrent to him and others from acting in the same way.”
Mail on Sunday journalist Tony Hetherington wrote in July 2015: “Wilkinson’s past as a promoter of dud schemes goes even further back.
“More than a decade ago he was behind Apex Equities and Great British Investors.
“These were boiler rooms, run from Spain to sell worthless or overpriced shares to investors in Britain.
“Wilkinson’s scam collectively cost investors more than £825,000.”