Accountant warned of jail over ‘blatant disregard’ of banning order

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Peter Lashmar
Peter Lashmar will return to court on 17th January 2020 for sentencing

A LYMINGTON accountant pleaded guilty to breaching a ban which disqualified him from being involved in running companies.

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Peter Lashmar (68), of West Way, faces prison for what Judge Stephen Climie said at Bournemouth Crown Court could be seen as a “blatant disregard” of an official order.

The Insolvency Service (IS) disqualified Lashmar in 2015 from directing or taking any part in the management of a company for seven years.

The action was taken after the Insolvency Service went to Southampton County Court because Lashmar failed to ensure his accountancy firm kept proper records and registered for VAT.

But after subsequent reports that Lashmar was breaching the order, the IS investigated and hit him with 11 more criminal charges – six of which he admitted in court on Thursday last week.

Of those, five relate to him breaching the disqualification in relation to working at:

  • Lentune Tax Accountants between 23rd March 2015 and 22nd March 2016
  • Lashmar Personal Tax LLP, Lashmar Tax Accountants and Incorporate Companies Secretaries from 23rd March 2015 to 24th October 2018
  • IC Nominee 66 between 23rd March 2015 and 28th April 2017.

He also admitted a charge of recklessly delivering a false, misleading or deceptive document to the registrar stating Wendy Page was the director of Lashmar Tax Accountants.

Judge Climie was told the prosecution was not offering evidence on one charge so a not-guilty verdict was recorded on that, while the four outstanding matters will remain on file.

Defence barrister Berenice Mulvanny told the court Lashmar had worked as a tax specialist since 1988 alongside his late wife Margaret.

‘Struggled to cope’

But after her death in 2011 he found things “got on top of him” while solely trying to run various firms, she said.

He “struggled to cope” before he was disqualified from being a director.

She acknowledged the offences passed the custody threshold and could result in her client being jailed for up to two years, but she would be arguing that any sentence imposed should be suspended.

Responding, Judge Climie said it could be viewed on the face of it as a “deliberate and potentially blatant disregard” of the rules.

He warned Lashmar all options, including custody, would be open to the sentencing judge when the defendant returns to the court on 17th January to learn his fate.

He granted Lashmar bail on the condition he lives and sleeps at his home address – except over a 10-day period in December when the defendant is due to go to the US to visit family.

As reported in the A&T, Lashmar was declared bankrupt on 15th May.

A website for the firm New Forest Tax Accountants is still active.

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