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Businessman Jailed for Deception and Fraud

William Rooney Williams, a West Midlands-based businessman, was sentenced to three years in prison at Wolverhampton Crown Court on 9 August 2012 for deception and fraud, following an initial investigation into his bankruptcy by The Insolvency Service and a criminal investigation and prosecution by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Mr Williams is already serving a five-and-a half year sentence for fraud following a police investigation after he conned the widow of a murder victim out of two life insurance policies worth £276,000. The sentences will run consecutively.

The Insolvency Service investigation found that between 2002 and 2004 while still bankrupt he operated a company known as Williams and Co and received over £120,000 from two clients for investment, promising huge profits.

The funds were never invested and when the clients sought to recover their funds, only small amounts were repaid despite Mr Williams’ offers to repay, and he was declared bankrupt in October 2006. He had previously been made bankrupt in 1987 for three years and in 1996 for six years.

During enquiries into the bankruptcy by the Insolvency Service, Mr Williams failed to co-operate with statutory procedures and lied on a continuous basis trying to hide his debts and assets including a number of bank accounts through which funds continued to pass. He failed to repay his creditors and continued with his lifestyle.

Despite his bankruptcy he continued to seek other clients and took another £18,000 from a client, again promising huge profits. No such investment was made and he used the funds for his own purposes.

The subsequent BIS criminal investigation found sufficient evidence to put Mr Williams before the criminal court where on the 29 March 2012 he entered guilty pleas to sixteen separate offences. Commenting on the case, Deputy Chief Investigation Officer Liam Mannall from BIS said:

“The sentencing Judge has described this as a very serious case involving a persistent and dishonest sole trader. He has described Mr Williams as ‘a dishonest man through and through’.

“I would add that Mr Williams abused his professional position to con others out of considerable sums of money. The sentences passed indicate how seriously the court viewed his behaviour. The department will continue to target and prosecute individuals such as Williams who engage in fraudulent and criminal acts.”