A property developer in Essex has been banned for 14 years after he promised investors substantial returns but instead operated a ‘ponzi’ property scheme
Mitchell Mallin was director of Essex and London Properties Limited. He targeted investors with the promise that their funds would be used to purchase derelict properties in London and Essex before renovating them and selling them for a profit.
Over 3 years, Essex and London Properties Limited gained more than £13m in investments from investors. Hundreds of people invested in the company providing funds between £5,000 to over £100,000.
Only one property, however, was ever purchased for renovation and instead most of the investors’ money was siphoned to overseas bank accounts.
Insolvency Service investigation
The company was wound up in the public interest in September 2018 following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
The investigation revealed that Mitchell Mallin’s company had failed to invest the £13m and used the funds provided by new investors to directly pay returns to previous investors.
More than £4.75m of unverified payments were also made to third parties. At the company’s winding up, creditors were owed more than £11m.
On 11 March 2021, the secretary of state accepted a disqualification undertaking from Mitchell Mallin after he did not dispute that he caused or allowed Essex and London Properties Limited to trade with a lack of commercial probity.
‘Dishonest and reckless director’
Mitchell Mallin has been banned from acting as a director for 14 years which means he cannot, directly or indirectly become involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Neil North, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “As the period of disqualification reflects, obtaining funds from investors and using them in a dishonest manner is a serious matter and contrary to the conduct expected of a company director.
“Companies have limited liability, which is a privilege, not a right and we have strong enforcement powers which we will not hesitate to use to remove that privilege from dishonest or reckless directors.”