Two brothers behind a Blackpool-based property company which promised people lucrative returns on foreign properties will be sentenced after admitting lying to investors.
The 53-year-old twins Paul and Peter Aspden, who are originally from the Fylde coast but moved to Cape Verde,
admitted a charge of making a false statement under Section 14 of the Trade Descriptions Act at Leeds Crown Court.
Last year, they were disqualified from being company directors for a total of 22 years for, in the words of The Insolvency Service, “ripping off the public to the tune of £2.5m”.
They will be sentenced on July 3.
Both Peter and Paul, were directors of Independent Property Consultants Limited (IPC), a company that marketed property developments in Bulgaria and Cape Verde, which had several offices, including one on Blackpool Business Park.
The Gazette reported, in March last year, how the Aspdens claimed to be offering properties in four Bulgarian developments and took £1.5m from clients.
The Insolvency Service investigation – launched after complaints from clients – discovered those homes never materialised.
Clients had also handed over £1m for apartments in the Sal Vista resort development in Cape Verde which they never got their hands on.
The investigation also concluded IPC failed to protect the customers’ money, meaning there is £643,244 of clients’ cash which investigators cannot find, the Insolvency Service said.
At the High Court Chancery Division Manchester District Registry, they were disqualified from acting as directors for 11 years after
12 months of court proceedings.
Ken Beasley, official receiver at the Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said: “The Aspden brothers were responsible for significant financial losses suffered by members of the public who never received the foreign properties they paid for.
“By handing down 11-year disqualifications, the court has shown that such conduct by directors will not be tolerated.
“The Insolvency Service will take tough action to put a stop to companies trading against the public interest and we will seek to remove culpable directors from the business environment.”
IPC, which specialised in off-plan development, also had offices in Scarborough, Spain, Bulgaria and Crowthorn and traded for more than two decades, but was only incorporated in 2004.
It was wound up by the courts on the grounds of public interest and was found to have no assets and an estimated deficiency to creditors of £2,573,933.