A HUDDERSFIELD man has been banned from acting as a director for seven years after leaving scores of customers out of pocket.
Akhter Ahmed Sheikh, also known as Adahm Sheikh, was director of kitchen design company Dream Interiors UK Ltd, with showrooms in Leeds and Bradford.
A probe by the Department of Trade and Industry's companies investigations branch - one of the first under new powers - discovered many customers were left with unfinished work or paid for kitchens which were never started.
The company closed down in November, 2004, following 60 complaints from customers to West Yorkshire Trading Standards.
A report by the DTI said that Mr Sheikh, of Birchencliffe, had allowed the company to continue accepting customer deposits when he knew, or should have known, that the company was in financial difficulties.
He had also allowed the company to fall into arrears on rent and borrow money which it was unable to repay.
Mr Sheikh had also allowed the company to trade while unable to fulfil customer orders for which deposits had already been taken.
And he had failed to ensure that the company kept adequate accounts, which made it impossible to explain its transactions or establish its financial position.
The investigation was one of the first carried out under powers introduced last April allowing documents and information to be obtained from people other than the company and its personnel.
It allowed investigators to get information from customers and others who had dealings with the firm to build up a financial picture in the absence of the company's own records.
Dream Interiors (UK) Ltd was formed in 2003 and traded from Roseville Road Trading Estate in Leeds and Manningham Lane, Bradford.
The sole director of the firm was listed at Companies House as CER Nominees Ltd, but Mr Sheikh had admitted that he directed and controlled the company throughout its trading.