Disgraced producer Paul Coxwell has been sentenced to more than three years in prison after pleading guilty to four charges, including fraud and breaching an order preventing him from serving as a company director.
Coxwell, who was previously sentenced to nine months imprisonment in 2009 after making false VAT claims amounting to more than £1million, was sentenced today to 39 months at Peterborough Crown Court and disqualified from acting as a company director for 13 years.
The 30-year-old was jailed after pleading guilty in July to one count of fraud and three counts of acting in contravention of a disqualification order. These offences were first brought to light following an investigation by The Stage in 2011.
Judge Sean Enright explained how Coxwell’s lies began to catch up with him after The Stage “blew the whistle” on his fraudulent activity.
After his previous jail sentence in 2009, Coxwell returned to the theatre industry, working under a new identity.
Acting in what was described in court as “flagrant contravention” of the disqualification order against him, Coxwell renamed himself Paul Parker and was running three companies; IQ Global Partners Ltd, StageLive (Peterborough) Ltd, and StageLive (Group) Ltd.
He had taken over management of Peterborough’s Broadway Theatre in early 2011 through StageLive Ltd, but the theatre was forced to close just five months later due to financial difficulty, leaving producers and staff thousands of pounds out of pocket and 30 members of staff without jobs.
The court heard how Coxwell’s management of the Broadway Theatre was a “financial disaster”, and that he had used takings from productions to pay other bills, and once paid staff using pound coins from the bar.
Judge Enright said: “You hid the true position from those who were entitled to know. You were bent on enticing others to act to their detriment to assist you in your business ventures. In this instance, only custody is justified.”
The charges brought against Coxwell acting in contravention of a disqualification order relate to a period of time between 2010 and 2011, during which he acted as a director or was “directly or indirectly concerned” with the management of IQ Global Partners Ltd, StageLive (Peterborough) Ltd and StageLive (Group) Ltd.
The fraud charge relates to section one of the Fraud Act 2006, after Coxwell made representations that were “untrue and misleading” in an attempt to “make a gain for himself or cause loss to another”, according to the charges brought against him.
For the full story see this week’s The Stage.