The director of a sham company set up to defraud businesses across the country has been kicked out of the UK.
Jevgenijs Botasevs 30, from Riga, was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for two years, excluded from the UK for two years and disqualified from holding a directorship for five years.
Slom Solutions, the company set up by Latvian Jevgenijs Botasevs, was given six months to pay a £20,000 fine, £2,055 costs and compensation of almost £600 to two of the defrauded businesses.
At Croydon Crown Court, on Friday 9 November, both Botasevs and Slom Solutions Ltd pleaded guilty to two counts of misleading marketing under the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.
The court heard that Botasevs, from Riga but with an address in Hull, had registered Slom Solutions in his home town in January.
The business address was a mailbox at Lansdowne House, Lansdowne Road, Croydon.
In February, Croydon’s trading standards team issued a warning to businesses to be wary of invoices for inclusion in a web directory called britishintheweb.co.uk.
They received 295 complaints from businesses across the UK regarding misleading invoices, since the warning.
Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: “Thanks to the work of our trading standards team, many companies became aware of this scam and were able to act accordingly.
“It’s very likely that if our officers hadn’t taken immediate action to stop the company’s activities the postings would have continued and the scam could have affected many thousands of businesses across the UK.
“In these straitened times, businesses can’t afford to lose sums of money to bogus invoices, and this case underlines how important it is to have strict accounting measures in place – and to make sure those measures are strictly applied.”