Regency Coins (UK) Limited (‘Regency’), which sold rare coins to the public, has been wound up in the High Court in London, following a petition presented by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovations and Skills after investigations by Company Investigations of The Insolvency Service.
Investigators found that Regency began selling coins as an investment from January 2008. Many of the victims were elderly and lost their savings in this scam. Regency ceased trading in 2010 following a police search of the company’s premises and the seizure of a stock of coins.
The company is insolvent, has no director or company secretary on record and has insufficient assets to meet claims from creditors. Regency also failed to maintain adequate accounting records and lacked financial controls. There was misuse of company money and payments in excess of £970,000 were made to Steven Lawson who appeared to direct the affairs of the company, or to companies he was associated with.
In addition, the investigation found that the company:
(i) sold coins at a price far in excess of their true market value and also of a significantly lower quality than represented. The excessive profit made by the company also meant that the investments made by clients were unlikely to realise any profit.
(ii) sold coins that it did not own, without ensuring it could subsequently satisfy client orders.
(iii) sold the same coin to more than one client, retaining the coin on the pretext that it would later be sold for a profit on behalf of the client.
(iv) sold coins on behalf of clients, but retained the proceeds of sale without paying these to the clients, leaving the client without either the coin sold or the proceeds.
(v) Abused client bank and credit card details, taking monies in excess of the agreed purchase price for the coins.
David Hill, case supervisor, said
"Regency portrayed itself as a safe investment choice for people who had saved a bit of money and wanted to invest some of it for theirs, and their family’s future.
“These scams are particularly shocking because they target the most vulnerable members of society. The worst thing is, after the money has been taken, most elderly investors will never be able to make good their loss again.”
Notes to Editors
1. On the 7 March 2012, the Secretary of State presented a petition against Regency Coins (UK) Limited seeking an order that it be wound up under Section 124A Insolvency Act 1986, in the public interest. The petition was heard in the High Court, London on 2 May 2012.
2. The registered office address of the Company was 1 Royal Terrace, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS1 1EA. It was incorporated on 24 November 2006. It has no recorded directors or secretary; the last recorded directors were Mark Colin Hall who resigned on 19 August 2010 and Alan James Worby who resigned on 8 September 2010.
3. The Insolvency Service carries out confidential enquiries on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
4. The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. The Service also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession; deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures; assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees; provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds; and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.
5. All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: The Insolvency Service, Public Interest Unit, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3SS, PIU.OR@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk
6. Further information about the work of The Insolvency Service is available from www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency