A BANKRUPT East Lancashire man fraudulently secured £26,000 credit for a dissolved business then claimed the debtor was a man in Malta.

Neil Maloney, 45, from Oswaldtwistle, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, suspended for two years, for fraud offences after taking more than £26,000 in credit from a car parts distributor.

Maloney was made bankrupt in December 2015 and his discharge from bankruptcy was suspended indefinitely.

Between May and July 2017, the defendant obtained more than £26,000 credit from a car parts company, claiming he was trading as a business called Transit Parts North West.

The court heard Maloney presented cheques to the business to pay for the credit from a company bank account in the name Truck & Trailer Exports Ltd.

It was discovered, however, Maloney was director of the company but that it had been dissolved in 2011 when the bank account was closed.

The Insolvency Service then started an investigation into Maloney.

The investigation found that when the company attempted to recover the debt, a mistake had been made and Maloney’s surname was wrongly inputted as ‘Matoney’.

Maloney claimed that Neil Matoney was a real person, based in Malta, and Neil Maloney dealt with the day-to-day running of the company.

The investigation also discovered Maloney had received credit of more than £7,300 from an inheritance which he failed to disclose to the Official Receiver, as he was required to under the terms of his bankruptcy.

Instead, Maloney sent the money to his wife.

A statutory demand was also sent, and the defendant agreed to pay the debt. However, Preston Crown Court was told he failed to do so.

Maloney had pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false representation, two counts of obtaining credit without giving relevant information and two counts of non-disclosure.

Julie Barnes, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: "Neil Maloney knew and understood the responsibilities and restrictions of his bankruptcy. Despite this, he knowingly breached these by keeping inheritance funds and fraudulently applying for more than £26,000 in credits.

"Neil Maloney tried to evade prosecution by claiming the credit was taken by a colleague with an almost identical name, but this case shows we will investigate and pursue wrongdoers to bring them before the courts."