A bankrupt haulage contractor has been warned he faces jail after he posed as his own brother to get round a ban on running a company.
Shaun Standen was banned by a court order from running any company director but pretended to be his older brother Kevin and so he could continue running his family firm under a new name.
He was unmasked because he is a burly six-footer while his brother is 5’4’’ and slim, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Standen, aged 45, of Court Gardens, Stoodleigh, admitted running a company when banned from being a director.
He will be sentenced later but Judge Phillip Wassall warned him he is likely to go to jail after hearing how creditors including the taxman were left at least £350,000 out of pocket when his company folded for the second time.
Standen originally ran a business from a yard at East Anstey, near South Molton, which traded as Westcountry Transport and Westcountry Storage and Distribution.
He moved to a yard behind the Elmore FC ground in Tiverton after going bust in 2007 and traded as Standen and Sons until 2009 when his brother Kevin left the business because he was worried about unpaid bills.
The name was changed again to Russet Red so Standen could carry on hiring trucks from a company called Falcon and use them to fulfil existing contracts.
A day long hearing was held at Exeter Crown Court to determine the facts behind the setting up of this company because Standen denied posing as his brother Kevin.
Judge Wassall heard evidence from businessman John White, who became a director of Russet Red but said he always knew Standen as Kevin.
He said he only realised the deception after inspectors from VOSA came to check the operator’s licence and gave him a physical description of the two brothers.
Foreman Andrew Smith said he was working for Standen and Sons but then became aware its name had changed and Standen told him that if anyone asked for Kevin he should refer them to him.
Standen told the judge he had never hidden his true identity from either Mr White, who was party to the scheme for him to pretend to be his brother.
He also said he had not understood the full extent on the ban on him running the company which had been imposed by Exeter magistrates.
The Judge rejected his evidence and said:”I find that throughout the period he was in full knowledge of his conviction and he has been deliberately dishonest in the way he has conducted himself.
“I shall order a pre sentence report because he has never been in custody before. However, he should know that I shall regard anything he tells the probation service with a degree of circumspection in light of the level of dishonesty which he has displayed throughout.
“I would urge him to start being frank rather than weave a web of deceit around this. There has to be a sentence of imprisonment but there is an argument for suspending it but it may be I have no alternative to immediate custody.”