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Bankrupt Wiltshire pub boss is let off community service
A twice bankrupt pub boss who illegally ran two businesses has been told he doesn’t have to do his community service as he has had a heart attack.
Stephen Chai was ordered to do a total of 210 hours of unpaid work under the terms of a suspended sentence imposed last year.
But after hearing that the 54-year-old was no longer fit to carry out the community payback a judge at Swindon Crown Court removed it from the conditions of the sentence.
Chai was initially told to do just 180 hours but a further 30 were added when it was found a three month night time curfew could not be imposed because he lived in a caravan.
Because he had carried out much of the unpaid work and was still not suitable for a curfew nothing was imposed in place of the hours which had not been done.
Chai, who ran pubs in Christian Malford and West Lavington, had been declared bust in 2003 with debts in excess of £180,000.
But he went on to illicitly run two companies, first in early 2007 when he set up a business selling camping equipment.
He took on two agency workers and a full time member of staff who was to be on £18,000 a year.
But the employment agency was left short of thousands in payments for the people they provided and the other woman not only wasn’t paid but lost £10,000 she loaned the firm.
In February 2008 Chai then set up Pod Pubs Ltd, which ran the Mermaid in Christian Malford, and the Stage Post, in West Lavington.
The court was told he and his wife persuaded another woman to invest in the business and she signed the lease on the Stage Post as being a bankrupt he could not.
Pod Pubs continued to trade until 2009 when Punch Taverns took back the leases on the pubs and was closed down earlier this year having never filed any accounts.
Chai, now of Newton Caravan Park, Newton, Bath, pleaded guilty to two counts of acting as a company director while an undischarged bankrupt .
In October last year he was jailed for 12 months but the sentence was suspended for two years.