Sheffield councillor Jack Scott says he has been the victim of a serious identity theft which has resulted in him being suspended by Labour, pending an investigation.
The Arbourthorne councillor used to run a company called Jack Scott Associates which he wound down in 2013.
Unbeknown to him, fraudsters took over the name and continued trading. They stole the company name the day before it closed down, appointed themselves as directors and changed its address to a PO Box in London.
Coun Scott did not announce the company on his declarations of interest at Sheffield Council as he thought it had ceased trading years ago. Councillors have to declare all information such as this and can be fined or banned from office for failing to do so.
But a member of the public found the company was still trading and made a complaint that Coun Scott had not declared it.
Following the complaint, the Labour Party suspended Coun Scott pending an investigation. He has stood down as Cabinet member for transport and development while this takes place.
Coun Scott said: “I understand that there is an allegation about an administrative issue relating to a company that I ran around six years ago.
“The allegation relates to problems caused by identity theft in 2013. HMRC found no wrongdoing and agreed that the company had been hijacked.
“Clearly, there was no advantage or benefit to me from this. However, as an elected official, I am conscious that public trust is of paramount importance.
“I have therefore stepped down from my role in Cabinet while Sheffield Council confirm the facts of the case. I welcome the investigation and look forward to resuming my duties in due course.”
Coun Scott founded his company in 2010 and wound it up three years later. He offered bid-writing services and consultancy for charities and had a turnover of around £15,000 a year. It’s understood the new owners changed it to a mining company and the turnover went up to £1.6 million.
They then continued to trade without Coun Scott’s knowledge. In 2015, Coun Scott received a telephone call from HMRC and it was discovered that two men had taken over his former company as new directors and continued to trade in its name.
Coun Dore and the Labour Party declined to comment. It’s not known how long the investigation will take.