On Monday, May 21st it was announced that a ban has been imposed on the former finance boss of a collapsed debt management company that was used by a couple to fund their own personal means and lead a luxurious lifestyle.
First Step Finance was initially launched back in 2007 by Adrian and Christine Whitehurst. While launching the company the couple also known as “vampires of debt” made a promise of providing help to struggling families in the form of controlling their debts.
Significantly, the company fell apart back in 2014 and was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy with nearly £7m missing from customer funds.
Earlier on Monday, it was revealed by The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that the executive in charge of the group’s finance department, Darren Newton showed an “extreme lack of honesty and integrity” when he made use of customer investments for purchasing the company from Mrs. Whitehurst in 2013.
Providing further backing for its decision to ban Newton from the finance sector, the FCA claims that he was well aware of the fact that the money “should have solely been used for paying customers’ creditors or to be returned to customers,” however Newton still went on and gave the cash to Mrs. Whitehurst.
The FCA added that, once Newton purchased the business he was supposed to transfer the group’s 4,000 clients to another company, however, the transfer did not materialize.
The FCA’s decision has not been taken well by Mr. Newton as he has openly protested against it while also going on to refer the matter to the Upper Tribunal.
Back in October 2017, Mr. and Mrs. Whitehurst had been banned by the watchdog from working in the industry. However, they continued to receive monthly payments from their customers, moreover, they utilized these payments to fund a luxurious lifestyle that included five-star luxury hotels in Venice, Marbella, Greece, and Vienna.
The FCA also revealed that the “vampires of debt” also spent more than £200,000 on buying cars including a Range Rover, a Bentley, and a Ducati and spent “hefty” sums on luxury brands, including goods from Louis Vuitton and Hermes.