A CONVICTED fraudster who illegally reused the name of his former insolvent company has been spared jail.

Neil Probert, of Broad Street Common, Newport, reused a prohibited company name, NP Power Controls Ltd, after the company had been wound up in the Court of Justice on December 2, 2010.

Probert, 41, who was a former director of the energy-reduction business, pleaded guilty to the charge at Cwmbran Magistrates' Court on February 16, 2015. He had been on bail for the offence.

The court heard how on October 4, 2011, the insolvency examiner Richard Johnson discovered NP Power Controls Ltd was still trading in his follow-up investigation to the company being wound-up.

This was in breach of section 216 of the 1986 Insolvency Act.

Probert was warned of the consequences of using the name by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) on November 25, 2011, but continued to do so.

BIS would go on to spend 460 hours investigating the case.

Various online searches revealed NP Power Controls Ltd was listed with a different telephone number.

They also obtained a purchase order from January 22, 2012, with the name NP Power Controls Ltd on headed paper.

Further banking evidence showed that a cheque by NP Power Control Ltd had been signed by Probert on January 25, 2012.

In a police interview on September 4, 2013, Probert stated that NP Power Controls Ltd had never been listed as a company name on emails or business cards.

He said that all his customers knew the business as NP Power Solutions.

The court heard how Probert had 10 previous convictions, eight of which were for fraud.

Defending, Richard Seal said that Probert needed better people in charge of administration and financial advice and now has a business mentor.

He added that the paper trail always led back to Probert and that it would be very difficult to "deceive and disappear in such a niche market".

Summing up, Judge Greg Bull said Probert’s actions were acts of “sharp practice in deceiving the public and other traders” but acknowledged that Probert pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity.

Judge Bull gave him a £9,000 fine and four-month custodial sentence, suspended for a year.

Probert has until September 28 to pay the fine.