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Reference no. 119-0013-1
Prize winner
James G Gallagher (Edinburgh Napier University); Edward Fordyce (Edinburgh Napier University); David Stevenson (Edinburgh Napier University)
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26 pages
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Published sources


In March 2009 Wrekin Construction went into administration, with nearly 500 jobs losses. Its management blamed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for its predicament because the bank would not extend credit to cover its cash-flow problems of some GBP2 million. Wrekin claimed it had signed two contracts worth a total of GBP50 million on the day it had been taken into administration. However, the administrators found, when examining the assets that the company's owner, David Unwin, had entered an uncut ruby gemstone valued at GBP11 million, into the company accounts by exchanging it for the shares. Unwin’s venture capitalist, business vehicle, Tamar, had only recorded the gem in its accounts as an asset valued at GBP300,000. But on transfer to Wrekin a false valuation report gave it the GBP11 million value. It also changed its auditors. Wrekin Construction, a private company, owned by the Frain family had since 2000 experienced a turbulent economic environment which had seen it at the time introduce disastrous growth strategies which forced its collapse and Unwin's acquisition. The acquisition in 2007 however, saw the economic climate go into a tail spin and company profits plummet. The result was a second round of fraudulent acts by Unwin and his directors as they transferred funds from Wrekin to one of his other companies. These included a GBP768,117 transfer to Britannia Management Services and GBP516,959 to Equatrek. In June 2009 the Tamar Group itself went into administration. The auditors picked up on the frauds and the directors were in 2013 disqualified from involvement in companies for up to ten years. The Gem of Tanzania was bought by Tim Watts a creditor of Wrekin for GBP8,100. But still controversy surrounded the stone and its value with earlier estimates emerging ranging from USD250,000 to USD22-23 million.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.


Fraudulent valuation of inventory assets; Financial statement fraud; Embezzlement


The events covered by this item took place in 2002 - 2014.

Geographical setting

United Kingdom

Featured company

Company name:
Wrekin Construction
GBP 40 million
Other keywords:

Featured protagonist

  • Fraud Office

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Awards, prizes & competitions

2015 - EFMD Case Writing Competition - category winner

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