JAILED: Former councillor Tony Ramsden labelled a "liability in business" as he is sentenced to 10 months (From Bournemouth Echo)
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JAILED: Former councillor Tony Ramsden labelled a "liability in business" as he is sentenced to 10 months
DISGRACED former councillor and planning agent Tony Ramsden was condemned as “a liability in business” as he was jailed for 10 months.
The high-profile planning consultant, who has been made bankrupt three times, stood stony-faced as he was handed a custodial sentence for showing a “blatant disregard” for the bankruptcy laws.
He had pleaded guilty to five charges of breaching bankruptcy laws and found guilty by a jury of obtaining a £25,000 loan from former business partner Christopher Wardrop without declaring his bankruptcy status.
He admitted managing two companies - AHRG Ltd (named after himself and his wife Harriet) and PS CTP Ltd - between January 2004 and April 2009, when he was an undischarged bankrupt. He also admitted two charges of using the prohibited trading name of Planning Solutions.
The court heard his wife Harriet was the sole director of AHRG Ltd and PS CTP Ltd but evidence from former employees revealed both were effectively run by Ramsden.
AHRG Ltd racked up £332,000 of debts in five years before it was wound up, most of which was owed to HM Revenue and Customs.
Ramsden, of Western Road, Poole, also admitted making a misleading statement to his bankruptcy trustee Timothy Ball, who was charged with realising Ramsden's assets.
Ramsden, who was described as “uncooperative” in his dealings with Mr Ball, told him in February 2006 that he had not worked for some time and was reliant on his family's generosity.
Prosecutor Rufus Taylor quoted from his letter, which read: “My life at present seems more fulfilled - volunteering at the church, in politics and general study fill my days.”
“In reality he was heavily involved in the work of Planning Solutions,” said Mr Taylor. “At the time they were working for an investment group and in the process of purchasing a hotel and turning it into flats.”
He said Ramsden repeated this assertion in 2007 and 2008, claiming his financial circumstances were unchanged.
Robert Grey, defending, asked Judge John Harrow to consider giving Ramsden a suspended sentence and a curfew order.
Ramsden entered the court accompanied by his father David, who has also been made bankrupt, and carrying a designer Dolce and Gabbana holdall. Mr Grey said he was “prepared for prison.”
But he added: “Does the court really want to victimise the public purse even further with a relatively short immediate custodial sentence?”
He said father-of-three Ramsden was of previous good character and had a firm offer of a new job.
“He's productive and hard-working,” he said.
But Judge Harrow told him his persistent flouting of the bankruptcy rules merited a prison sentence.
Acknowledging his recent third bankruptcy, Judge Harrow said: “That's quite a record” and added: “By the time of your second bankruptcy, it should have been painfully obvious that you were a liability in business.
“The rules are there to prevent exactly this kind of situation. You ploughed on and continued running and being actively involved in business. You were prepared to lie to your trustee in bankruptcy and acquaintance Mr Wardrop and conceal vital information. You flouted all the rules.
“You seemed to have deemed yourself to be unaccountable to the authorities and your creditors.
“Your motive was financial gain, there's no doubt about it.”
He handed him a 10 month sentence, of which Ramsden will serve half, and also disqualified him as a director for six years, stating: “In my view, you're unfit to act as a company director.”
The case against Ramsden was brought by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Deputy chief investigating officer Liam Mannall said: “Mr Ramsden-Geary has been found guilty of a range of dishonest actions which demonstrate his flagrant disregard of the bankruptcy regime.
“He amassed considerable business debts, ignoring the fact that he was disqualified from acting in the management of a company, and later used a trading name he knew he was not allowed to trade under.
“In addition, he held back information from his bankruptcy trustee. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills will robustly investigate and prosecute those individuals who act in such a deliberately dishonest manner.”
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