A care home boss who operated development companies in Calderdale is under investigation for fraud, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced on Monday.
Gavin Woodhouse, who was listed on Companies House as operating from Halifax and Elland, owned a number of care homes and hotels across the country until they went into administration in 2019.
He allegedly took millions of pounds from investors over a six-year period- money which later disappeared.
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The investigation by the SFO “is investigating suspected fraud and money laundering” in relation to Mr Woodhouse’s investments.
Between 2013 and 2019, the businessman told investors that the cash would be used to build care homes and buy and refurbish hotels.
He gave investors the chance of buying a room in a care home, a hotel or another form of holiday accommodation.
He generally promised 10 yearly dividends of about 10 per cent – paid from the rent the room would generate – plus a commitment to buy the room back after a decade at 125 per cent of the purchase price.
He also told them they could stay in the rooms for two weeks every year.
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However, an investigation by The Guardian and ITV in 2019 revealed that many of Mr Woodhouse’s projects were incomplete, and his firms were severely in debt.
Many of the firms linked with Mr Woodhouse were registered with Companies House at an address in Elland, and Mr Woodhouse’s registered address was in Halifax.
Mr Woodhouse’s creditors took him to court in 2019, and a high court judge put the businesses into administration ruling that Mr Woodhouse’s business model appeared to be “thoroughly dishonest” and a “shameful abuse of the privileges of limited liability trading”.
The SFO said it “is committed to supporting victims and invites those who believe they have been a victim in connection with this investigation to check this page for updates and information on support services.
“The administrators/liquidators will assess the company’s assets, undertake all appropriate recovery actions and distribute any monies to creditors in accordance with their statutory duties, as regards the respective administrations/liquidations.”
It also said: “If we obtain convictions and compensation is appropriate and possible, we will seek to return monies to victims.”
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