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News: Sign and displays boss disqualified for 10 years after submitting false invoices to claim more than £185,000 from lenders

Pure Point was incorporated in April 2009 and Russell Ivan Murch (43), from Leicester, became director in August 2010. The company was based in Lutterworth and manufactured signs and displays.

In April 2016, Pure Point experienced difficulties collecting payments from its clients and began to use a factoring company to secure finance.

Factoring companies provide finance by purchasing invoices from a business. When the invoices are paid, arrangements are made for the proceeds to be paid back to the factoring company to repay the monies advanced to the borrower.

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In August 2018, Russell Murch forwarded two emails to the factoring company advising them to collect £185,000 from one of Pure Point’s clients.

The factoring company paid £185,000 in advance to Pure Point but when they attempted to claim funds from the client, the debts were disputed and the factoring company was unable to collect money owed to them.

Pure Point fell into rent arrears and assets were seized by the landlord. The company then went into liquidation in March 2019 before an investigation was launched by the Insolvency Service into Russell Murch’s conduct.

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Investigators uncovered that the emails claiming Pure Point was owed £185,000 had been falsified. Russell Murch claimed to have received emails from the customer which he forwarded to the factoring company to receive the funds, but the email addresses used did not exist.

Russell Murch told the Insolvency Service that he informed the factoring company that due to ill health, the company’s sales manager had taken control of the company and that this employee was inflating sales.

The factoring company, however, had no record of either discussion and at liquidation, Pure Point owed them more than £257,000.

On 11 December, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Russell Murch after he admitted submitting invoices to a factoring company for £185,000 which he knew were false or inflated, or that he failed to exercise proper control over Pure Point of Sale’s financial affairs by submitting invoices without verifying they were genuine.

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Russell Murch’s ban will last for ten years and commenced on 1 January 2021. Russell Murch is banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

Robert Clarke, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

Submitting false documents to dishonestly obtain funds is a serious matter. As director it was Russell Murch’s sole responsibility to ensure this didn’t happen, whether that was him or another employee.

Russell Murch ‘s behaviour was totally unacceptable and to be removed from the corporate arena for 10 years shows the seriousness of his actions.

Larry John

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