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Cut in bill for businessman facing £140,000 court order

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: March 28, 2012

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A BUSINESSMAN who landed a £140,000 court order after resorting to lies and fraud in an attempt to save his £1 million home has won a cut in the bill.

A top judge said some of the items 69-year-old John Michael Ludlam had to sell to pay his bill were not as “fashionable” as before and not worth as much as previously thought.

Ludlam was in trouble after he tried to transfer his home, Montgomery House, Somersal Herbert, near Uttoxeter, into the sole name of his wife when he fell into money problems.

In March 2007, he was jailed after he was convicted of doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice, perjury, being a bankrupt when making a fraudulent disposal of property and making a false statement.

In 2009, Judge Christopher Plunkett said Ludlam had benefited to the tune of £358,333 from his crimes, but only ordered him to pay back the £140,903 value of his assets which could be identified.

But last week, in a judgment at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Wilkie issued a Certificate of Inadequacy, slashing the confiscation order to £103,142.

In a hearing earlier this month, lawyers for Ludlam argued that some of the cash realised by sale of his assets had been used to pay off his wife’s confiscation order and so were not available to him.

Caroline Ludlam had also been convicted of offences of dishonesty and was given a confiscation order of £105,417, which has since been paid in full.

His lawyers also argued that some of the property to be sold, including works of art and antique furniture, are no longer as fashionable — and therefore valuable — as they once were. Mr Justice Wilkie said: “In my judgment, the defendant has demonstrated to me that the sums, thought by the judge to be realisable, have turned out, as events have developed, not to be.” The fact that some of his property is now less desirable and would have to be sold in a limited time frame meant the chance of getting a good sale price at auction was reduced, he said.

“In summary therefore, in my judgment, in the events which have occurred, there is an inadequacy totalling £37,761,” the judge concluded.

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