I started a reconstruction project about 2 years ago. I signed a contract with a building firm, let's say A, including a reconstruction plan of about one year.

One year and 9 months later the reconstruction was still not finished and the building firm was practically impossible to get to appear on site. The original contract had a large penalty clause. Rather than going after the penalties, I told the firm to disappear; I would finish off the work myself.

Three months later I receive a letter from a solicitor claiming these builders are owed a large sum of money for 'additional work' and I am presented with an invoice about one week after that.

On closer inspection however, I see that the invoice is from company 'B', which has a very similar name, identical logo. To my surprise, when I look through the history of payments, I had been unintentionally paying firm B, not A (apart from one payment). The contract was with firm A. Invoices were being sent from firm B.

I discovered at that point that firm A is going into liquidation. There is no take over of contracts from A to B. Firm A is directed by the husband. Firm B is directed by the wife.

While I now have no recourse to penalty compensation, there is no log of works against which B can claim they are owed anything either (I have no intention of paying).

It now seems clear to me that they have a strategy of running two concurrent similar firms, running up debts on one firm and taking proceeds on another. Because they caused me great inconvenience in delaying the reconstruction as well as having a contract signed with a liquidated company that cannot pay penalties, is this a type of fraud? I want to know if this would be fraud in the US and/or UK. I don't want to discuss my specific location.

  • I recently had a case in the U.S. with similar facts and the legal analysis is quite complicated and fact specific. I am voting to close as asking for specific legal advice. – ohwilleke Feb 6 at 23:29

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