Care homes entrepreneur Gavin Woodhouse under fraud office investigation

Investigators are looking at what happened to money raised from amateur investors that were supposed to go to building care homes.

Simon Neville
Monday 09 August 2021 12:02
Gavin Woodhouse is under investigation by the SFO over money laundering and fraud (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Gavin Woodhouse is under investigation by the SFO over money laundering and fraud (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Serious Fraud Office has launched a fraud and money laundering investigation into care homes entrepreneur Gavin Woodhouse.

Investigators will look at investments offered in care homes and hotels between 2013 and 2019 and are asking investors in the alleged fraud schemes to provide details by the end of September to build its case.

Mr Woodhouse raised more than £80 million from armchair investors during the period, promising generous returns of around 10%.

But an investigation by ITV News and the Guardian found that many of the projects were incomplete and his businesses had multimillion-pound black holes.

The media outlets found at the time that despite raising £16 million during the period under investigation for four new care homes, none were operational and three had not been built.

Millions of pounds ended up transferred to a consulting company owned by Mr Woodhouse and subsequently disappeared.

Gavin Woodhouse had his businesses described by a judge as “thoroughly dishonest” (Northern Powerhouse Developments / PA)

Before his empire came crashing down, Mr Woodhouse had promised investors huge returns for stumping up cash to fund his MBI Hawthorn Care and MBI Clifton Moor companies which were supposed to build care homes that never materialised.

He also persuaded investors to part with their cash to fund Afan Valley, which was supposed to build a £200 million adventure resort in South Wales promoted by TV adventurer Bear Grylls.

Concerns were raised that the value of some assets included in parent company, Northern Powerhouse Development, were inflated.

Inter-company loans, including £1.2 million to a former director – Mr Woodhouse was the only former one – had subsequently gone missing.

Some creditors took Mr Woodhouse to court in 2019, with a high court judge describing the business model as appearing to be “thoroughly dishonest”.

The SFO said the information provided by investors “will help us to establish the circumstances of the investments offered, to identify and pursue new information, and to progress the investigation as quickly as possible”.

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