More than £1.4 million has been forfeited from a convicted fraudster linked to the area.

St Albans Magistrates’ Court ordered Kevin Morris, 63, to hand over £1,424,357 from four accounts he had used to launder money for his own personal gain, at a hearing on October 9.

Morris, also known as Kevin Gordon Sykes, had already been disqualified from setting up or managing a company for 15 years after an Insolvency Service investigation into him and a woman from Bushey.

According to the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, they had begun investigating in 2019 when a self-employed gardener from Borehamwood’s account, containing £725,505, appeared to be being used by someone else.

After three more accounts linked to the same activity were found in June 2020, containing £520,289, £115,114, and £63,446. The account owners, all different people, admitted to opening them in return for a nominal fee.

It was established that Morris, of Wolverton Road, Stanmore, had paid four people for use of their bank accounts and used them to commit payroll fraud.

Payroll fraud was described as “when a legitimate business transfers their staff and payroll responsibilities to a fraudulent company, which does not declare or pay the correct taxes”, by the ERSOU, which added that “the legitimate business is often unaware of any fraud”.

As specialist investigators delved further, the unit described, they uncovered a network of companies which were all ultimately traced back to an unlicensed insolvency agency called Business Debt Gone, of which Morris is the sole proprietor.

At the court hearing Morris was ordered to forfeit the full amount held in the four accounts.

Paul Fitzsimmons, from ERSOU, said: “This was a hugely complex investigation, which our specialist investigators have worked on tirelessly over nearly four years.

"We’re delighted that the court agreed with our findings, in what is one of our unit’s largest ever forfeiture orders.”

He added: “The district judge described the investigation as ‘outstanding’ and I'd like to thank everyone involved for their tenacity and commitment to seeing the operation through to its outcome.”