A FATHER and son have been banned from holding company directorships after duping the public into donating thousands of pounds to a children’s cancer charity.
Bruno Schultz, 56, and his son Paul, 33, were handed 10 and eight year bans respectively by the Insolvency Service after it emerged the pair falsely misled the public into believing they were donating money to help sick kids.
Scots-based charities The Goodwill Children’s Cancer Company and Rosebuds (UK) Ltd were closed down in the public interest in December 2008 following an investigation by the Companies Investigation Branch (CIB).
The pair ran two companies which claimed to have raised nearly £1.75m for children struck down with cancer when, in fact, only a paltry £22,500 was handed over to the good causes.
Both men accepted the charges and are now banned from acting as company directors and from participating in the management of limited companies.
Scotland’s charity regulators were powerless to stop the Schultz’s after they registered their companies as private firms and not as a bona fide charity.
But, an investigation into their conduct was launched after a number of complaints were made to the charity regulator, who then passed the case onto the CIB.
Their inquiry found that the directors falsely claimed how much money had been paid to deserving causes, and to the extent of the of the companies’ fundraising experience.
Smooth-talking Schultz, nicknamed The Vulture, was also accused four years ago of raising £300,000 a year for the Moonbeams charity – but of only handing over £70,000.
But a legal loophole allowed the con artists to create two new fundraising charities, the Falkirk-based Goodwill Children’s Cancer Charity and the Linlithgow-based Rosebuds (UK) Ltd, which were both wound up in December 2008 following the inquiry by the Companies Investigation Branch of the Insolvency Service.
Both companies were set up to raise substantial sums of money to help alleviate the suffering of children diagnosed with cancer.
The CIB’s investigation found that the companies had carried on the same or substantially similar businesses involving the fraudulent door-to-door sale of a £3 newsletter.
The CIB also found that it was claimed that up to £1m had been donated to help sick children when they had only raised £250,000 – of which a massive £190,000 had been paid as remuneration to the two directors.
It was also found that a monthly prize draw, allegedly open to purchasers of the newsletter, had paid out prize money in less than 50 per cent of cases, and also that the companies’ financial records were inadequate.
The pair’s disqualification comes into effect on April 13.
Schultz also hit the headlines last year after dumping his American fiancée just days before their wedding day.
He wooed American divorcee Eilean Hoffmeister before ditching her by phone in a move that she said “destroyed my world”.