Due Diligence under a magnifying glass

Another one – sold promises but …

Administrators seek missing £76m at care home provider
A development company which claimed to be opening a network of luxury care homes has gone into administration and is under investigation over the disappearance of £76m of investors’ money

Carlauren Group Ltd and Carlauren International Holdings Ltd are the holding companies for a number of businesses supporting care homes or hotels providing care. Run by Sean Murray, the businesses employ more than 260 staff across the group.

Carlauren bought 25 properties across the UK including Windlestone Hall, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, which it acquired for £850,000 in 2017. The aim was to provide upmarket care facilities.

The scheme was funded by selling individual rooms in the properties to investors, who paid around £100,000 each. During a three-day hearing in the High Court, it emerged that around £76m has been invested by individuals from around the world, and at least £50m cannot readily be accounted for.

Liquidators have been appointed to uncover how funds that were originally paid into the group have been used. Investors were told that the money was for the purchase of long-term leases in care homes or hotels with on-call care.

Some 777 rooms have been purchased by the group in various properties since 2016, many of which did not have planning permission for the use proposed at the time. By July 2019, all of the firm’s care homes had closed, with the group running commercial hotels and other non-care companies.