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.'