Will the UK ever regulate rampant Companies House registration fraud?
The level of MLM company registration fraud taking place in the UK is such that, whenever you see a Companies House certificate paraded about as proof of legitimacy, save yourself some time and just assume the company in question is a scam.
I can’t recall the last time I came across a legitimate MLM company for review incorporated in the UK, and it’s been this way for years.
The primary reason for this is that UK Companies House incorporation appears to be entirely unregulated.
Anyone from anywhere in the world can pay the £12 GBP fee and register online. Punch in whatever personal details you want and within minutes you’ll have an official looking certificate to provide gullible victims with.
Earlier this week Companies House published a press-release boasting of their “first ever successful prosecution for false company information”.
Sounds promising. But are we going to see actual registration regulation or is this a one-off?
Perhaps the most startling aspect of Companies House’s “first ever prosecution” is the fact that it’s based on a law that came into effect in 2009.
That’s right, after nine years Companies House has successfully held one individual accountable for false company registration.
Oh and it gets worse…
The company in question, John Vincent Cable Services Ltd, was incorporated by Kevin Brewer back in May, 2013.
Brewer listed former politician Vince Cable as the Director of the company because, well why the hell not?
A year later in May, 2014, Companies House struck the company off.
In 2016 Brewer incorporated Cleverly Clogs Ltd. This time he listed Baroness Neville-Rolfe and Ibrahim Aman as Directors of the company.
Aman was a completely made up alias but Lucy Neville-Rolfe, she was the Minister with responsibility for Companies House at the time.
To drive home a point, this is the equivalent of registering a company with the SEC and citing the current SEC Chairman and Donald Duck as its Directors.
Brewer’s Cleverly Clogs incorporation went through without a hitch. A week later through he filed termination documents for Aman and Neville-Rolf and appointed himself as the sole Director of the company.
Brewer appears to have done this of in his own accord, as Cleverly Clogs wasn’t voluntarily struck off until September, 2016.
Presumably sometime after September someone at Companies House became aware of Brewer’s conduct, and a year and half later he was prosecuted.
Brewer’s prosecution, which for some inexplicable reason Companies House seem awfully proud of, resulted in a £1,602 fine and Victim Surcharge of £160.
He was also ordered to pay £10,462.50 in legal costs – which hilariously dwarfs the actual penalty amount.
Not that Business Minister Andrew Griffiths seems to care.
This prosecution – the first of its kind in the UK – shows the Government will come down hard on people who knowingly break the law and file false information on the company register.
Companies House works hard to protect and continually upgrade the company register, identifying potentially criminal activities and working closely with law enforcement bodies to help bring those perpetrators to justice.
At a rate of one prosecution every nine years and hundreds of MLM scams generated Companies House certificates annually, it’s pretty obvious Brewer’s prosecution isn’t going to change anything.
By any stretch of the imagination, the enforcement track record of Companies House public servants would put even the laziest of snails to shame.
Meanwhile I can still create an account, pay the £12 fee and register whatever I want through whoever I want.
And unless I’m stupid enough to use the name of one of the UK’s precious Ministers, or add my actual name to the filing, nobody at Companies House will ever bat an eyelid.
What an absolute fail on all accounts.