Stamford

Jailed Stamford director unable to pay back any of £3m he stole from company

A company director who defrauded investors in his firm out of just under £3 million is “penniless” and unable to repay any of the money, a court heard.

Alan Chandler, 46, of Torrance Drive, Melton Mowbray, was jailed for seven years in July after he pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Chandler persuaded a venture capital company to invest in his Stamford-based green energy company Soleil Holdings Ltd using a forged document to support his story that he was a multi-millionaire.

Following Chandler’s conviction a financial investigation was carried out to determine if he could pay any of the money back.

A Proceeds of Crime Hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday, October 2, heard that only a “nominal” confiscation order could be made against Chandler.

Jon Dee, prosecuting, told the court: “He is penniless and in considerable debt, the Crown accept that.”

Recorder Helen Malcolm QC adjourned the hearing until October 23 for the prosecution to decide if they wanted to contest a sum of just under £3 million as the criminal benefit made by Chandler.

The sentencing hearing was told previously that Chandler falsely claimed his company was thriving when it was actually struggling.

The men behind the venture capital company were persuaded to invest more and more money on the promise that the firm was about to become a success.

But instead they lost every penny of their money when the company finally collapsed owing debts including staff wages.

Recorder Paul Mann QC, passing sentence in July, told Chandler: “If the investors had known the truth they would have cut their losses. As it was they became sucked into making more payments as a result of your assurances. They have lost every penny they invested with you. You just fed them lies.

“You created a fictional lifestyle. In every sense of the word you have lived your life as a professional conman.”

The judge said he accepted that Soleil Holdings had the potential to become a successful business but added: “Your desire to get rich quick is one of the reasons why the business failed.”

Mr Dee said that Chandler, whom the investors knew under his original name of Mark Lamb, told people his business, which grew straw and converted it into electricity, was thriving.

He obtained investment from Fredrik Werner and Agne Svensson who operated through a Monaco-based venture capital company Marine Life. The two men had checked out Soleil and found no issues with the company.

They were then given a series of presentations by Chandler in which he made out he was a wealthy man who was backed by millions of pounds of personal wealth.

To support his story he produced documents showing that he had received 150,000 shares worth £5 million following his departure from a previous company.

Greg Johnson, in mitigation, previously told the court: “This was a company that was viable. It could have succeeded. He was trying to make the company succeed.

“The investment did not go to him. It went primarily into the company.”