Vincent John McKee, director of three college tuition companies has been disqualified as a director for 14 years from 12 January by the High Court in Manchester for taking unauthorised payments from students and a string of other complaints.
McKee (age 56) of Coventry was disqualified following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Doctor McKee was a director of UAT (GB) Ltd, UAT (UK) Ltd and Godiva Corporate Training Ltd until the companies were all wound-up in the public interest on 3 October 2012. They owed creditors and shareholders a combined total of £156,605.
The companies provided tuition services and corporate training packages to students. Between January 2008 and August 2012, the companies were the subject of complaints to Trading standards for taking unauthorised payments of £61,197 from students. Furthermore, there were at least 822 claims sought by customers directly from credit card providers totalling £96,624.
The investigation found that the companies failed to inform its customers of the price of services; payment arrangements; cancellation rights; and the duration of contracts. The companies also failed to reimburse customers within 30 days when they had cancelled the service.
Commenting on the disqualification, Ken Beasley, Official Receiver of the Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said:
Dr McKee has breached the trust of unsuspecting students, many of whom would be facing their own financial pressures. The Insolvency Service will not tolerate company directors who abuse the privileges of limited liability for personal gain.
On 6 August 2012, following an investigation by Company Investigation, part of the Insolvency Service, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills presented winding up petitions in respect of ICUT, UAT UK and Godiva on the grounds that the companies should be wound up in the public interest, specifically due to:
- Withdrawal of money from customer accounts without authority/ breach of undertaking
- Failure to maintain/ deliver up accounting records/ lack of cooperation
- Use of pseudonyms and mis-statements on company website
- Continuation of business model contrary to the public interest
On 10 August 2012 the Official Receiver was appointed provisional liquidator of ICUT and UAT UK.
On 10 August 2012 Godiva was ordered by the Court:
- Not to collect or withdraw any money from any bank accounts, including any credit card accounts, of any customer or former customer of Godiva, ICUT or UAT UK or any other third party which had not been authorised by the customer
- Not to make any false statements about the services it provides including but not limited to the identity of any tutors or trainers whether on its website or otherwise
- Not to sell or otherwise dispose of its assets save for any dispositions authorised under the terms of any validation order
- Not to retain the credit or debit card details of any customer or former customer of Godiva, ICUT or UAT UK
- To preserve all books and records including its database and all other information held on its customer system
- To deliver up to the applicant’s solicitors specified accounting records, including customer files and contracts by 16:00 on 24 August 2012
- If any of the documents identified above were no longer in Godiva’s possession, custody and control to file a witness statement 16:00 on 24 August 2012 as to what happened to the subject document
On 3 October 2012 winding up orders were made against ICUT, UAT UK and Godiva.
Mr On 19 October 2012 Dr McKee was sentenced to 2.5 years imprisonment for 25 counts of fraud and 6 months concurrent for the offence of breaching professional due diligence. The other counts lie on file.
Following the 2012 case, Dr McKee was also disqualified from being a company director or in any way acting in the management of a limited company for seven years under Section 2 CDDA. The 14 year order made on 22 December 2014 is in addition to the order already made on 19 October 2012.