Question marks over jailed builder's missing £350,000

Administrators for a dodgy Wigan builder - who is starting a 15-month jail sentence - have been left scratching their head over more than £350,000 of missing monies.

Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:07 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 12:54 pm
Jailed builder Michael McDonnell

Michael McDonnell, 36, left Angela and Peter Cartwright, and Phyllis Edwards, mother of rugby legend Shaun, with bills of more than £80,000 apiece after they became involved with his firm MM Projects (NW) Ltd.

The Cartwrights have been left living in rented accommodation in Parbold and Mrs Edwards faced months of anguish after McDonnell constructed an extension at her Wrightington home without planning permission.

McDonnell, of Standish Road, Chorley, was jailed at Preston Crown Court earlier this month.

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But tandem proceedings had also been launched by the Insolvency Service regarding MM Projects and the discredited businessman has now been banned from being a company director for seven years in the civil courts.

The agency took the action after McDonnell failed to come up with any accounting records for liquidators, covering the period between April 2013 and July 2015, when the venture eventually went under.

A service spokesman said: "As a consequence it has not been possible for the liquidator to explain the reason for cash withdrawals totalling £257,992 and whether this money was used in the best interests of creditors."

Investigators have also questioned the whereabouts of cash payments, from an unnamed customer, amounting to £92,000, between January and June 2014, and why three cheques paid to MM Projects, totalling £10,013, were cashed at a cheque-cashing facility between September and November 2014.

These failures made it impossible for the liquidators to establish the assets and liabilities of the outfit, and ultimately why it became insolvent, according to the Insolvency Service.

McDonnell was also given a seven-year disqualification by the crown court judge, which will run alongside the civil undertaking.

He had claimed at previous crown court hearings that he had an interest in land with planning permission for housing, close to his Chorley Road home. But inquiries by trading standards officials found that planning permission had expired and there were question marks over whether he was a legitimate beneficiary from the holding.