The bosses of a company that left Brighton and Hove’s taxpayers more than £3 million out of pocket have been banned from running any businesses.
The bans come after Coin Co International collapsed owing £3.2 million to Brighton and Hove City Council.
They collected cash on behalf of the council, including from parking meters, and were meant to bank it then transfer it to the council’s bank account.
The business was run by former Metropolitan Police officer John Baker, 71, and his wife Doreen Baker, also 71, of Hassocks, their son Sean Baker, 48, of Burgess Hill, and daughter Joanne Baker, 46, of Brighton.
The Insolvency Service said that the four held on to £5.8 million and were now disqualified from being the directors of a company.
The government agency said: “Four family members who ran a cash collection company have been banned for a combined 32 years for failing to pay millions of pounds to the company’s clients.
“Doreen, Sean, Joanne and John Baker were all were directors of Coin Co International Plc (Coin Co) based in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, providing cash collections in transit services to local government, public bodies, charities, other organisations and businesses.
“The company also provided counting and foreign exchange coinage services.
“The company was incorporated in January 1995 and its cash-in-transit services were undertaken under agreements which stipulated that the money collected, for example, from car parks, was counted, banked and paid over to the customer.
“However, Coin Co fell behind with payments of collected funds to their clients from at least March 2013, more than a year before it went into administration in November 2014, breaching contracts it had entered into.
“At administration, Coin Co had assets of £1,866,066 and liabilities of £11,397,211 and investigators looked at the company’s activities, discovering several instances of mismanagement.
“In one case, four different customers were owed £5.8 million by Coin Co who had collected funds on their behalf but had not returned the money, directly breaching previous agreements.
“The directors did not dispute the findings of the investigation, which, among other things, found that, they
- held on to £5.7 million of clients’ money, in contravention of their contract
- caused or allowed the company to breach commercial agreements relating to a coin collection service provided to a number of clients
- allowed the company to fall behind with payments of collected funds to its clients from at least March 2013
“John, Doreen, Joanne and Sean Baker, provided disqualification undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, Innovation and Science, effective from (Thursday) 3 May 2018, for eight years each.
“Doreen, Sean and Joanne Baker were appointed directors on 30 January 1995 and John Baker was appointed as a director on 1 January 1998.
“The disqualifications prevent the directors from directly or indirectly becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company for the duration of their terms.”
Robert Clarke, investigations group leader at the Insolvency Service, said: “It is clear that companies handling money on behalf of others have a duty to ensure that funds collected are duly paid over to the rightful owners, under the agreements entered into.
“Directors who fail in these duties will be investigated and removed from the corporate arena for a lengthy period.
“Any individual who is registered as a director must make themselves aware of the duties such a position carries with it and further that they are able and willing to carry out those duties and ensure that the business for which they hold responsibility is managed in compliance with its obligations under agreements entered into or they too may face disqualification in the event of failure.”