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FCA bans debt adviser over £322k in stolen client funds

FCA bans debt adviser over £322k in stolen client funds

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned the owner of a debt management business after he misappropriated £322,500 in client funds.

Darren Newton, owner of debt management business Debt Help & Advice, was found to have acted with a 'serious lack of honesty and integrity' after he used client funds to purchase a second business, First Step in 2013.

First Step was previously owned by Christine Whitehurst and Adrian Whitehurst, who were banned by the FCA on October 2017, after stealing more than £6 million from clients to fund a 'lavish' lifestyle. 

The FCA found that Newton 'directed or allowed' £322,5000 to be taken from First Step client funds to be paid to the Whitehursts.

First Step went into administration on May 2014 with more than £7 million in client funds unnacounted for. 

In its decision notice, the FCA said: 'This showed a serious lack of honesty and integrity and, as a result, the FCA has decided that he is not a fit and proper person.'

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