A producer has been banned after raising money from the public for a film which was never made.
Michael Cowan, of East Sussex, has been banned by the Insolvency Service from acting as a company director for 13 years for his involvement in Warlord Productions.
The company raised money from members of the public, who believed they were investing in a feature film, claiming it would have an A-list cast, but the film was never made.
The Insolvency Service found that for almost half of its investors by value, the company did not keep records who they were or how much they had invested.
This meant that if the film had been made, and had generated profits, records weren’t held that would have allowed returns to be made. When it became clear that the film would not be made, the company was not in a position to repay monies raised.
Anthony Hannon, official receiver in the public interest unit at the Insolvency Service, said: "Little if any of the large sums raised from the public were used for the stated purposes, and there has been detriment both to the investing members of the public and to the reputation of investment in the UK film industry.
"The Insolvency Service will look closely at any evidence of misconduct and take appropriate action where directors have used investor monies for other purposes."
The investigation uncovered that the company set out to raise £2.5m for the film Henry 5.
Despite raising more than £5m from private investors, little if any of the money was used for film production.
Instead, more than £3.4m went in sales commissions and of the remaining £1.6m, £1.15m was paid to two of Mr Cowan’s other companies and £200,000 went towards the purchase of a house.