LONDON — A British court has handed Roy Luwolt a 51-month prison sentence for claiming 500,000 pounds in false expenses from Malone Souliers, the footwear brand he cofounded and managed with Mary Alice Malone.
Luwolt, who was let go from Malone Souliers in 2018, previously pleaded guilty to fraud between March 24, 2015 and November 15, 2018, according to British media reports.
Judge Philip Bartle said Luwolt had “caused the company to incur huge expenses for himself and others for at least five holidays between December 2016 and April 2018, with the bills paid by the company credit card of Mr. Luwolt, who paid himself expenses.”
Southwark Crown Court in London heard that Luwolt had claimed expenses for lavish entertaining and shopping in London and for luxury trips to Paris, Milan, Tuscany, New York, Tokyo and the Middle East. He stayed in hotels, including Raffles in Dubai and the Four Seasons in Doha.
On Friday, Malone Souliers’ parent World Wide Shoes LLP said: “The defendant was removed from the company three years ago. Since then, we have continued to create beautiful shoes for women and men and to grow globally as a brand.”
Luwolt was a larger-than-life figure during his time at Malone Souliers, often traveling around London in a chauffeur driven car; recounting tales of his past adventures in business, and becoming a regular fixture on the runway show, party and events circuit around the world.
He worked closely with Malone, the label’s creative director, forging footwear deals with designers including Adam Lippes and David Koma and creating runway capsule collections for Roksanda Ilincic and Natalia Vodianova.
In 2014, not long after the company launched, Malone and Luwolt were fêted at a lunch organized by Bergdorf Goodman when the brand made its U.S. debut.
In 2015 the two unveiled 151Luwolt, an e-commerce platform that looked to thrust young labels into the spotlight.
Their plan was to recruit, mentor and sell under-the-radar brands that were still too small to promote themselves or to manufacture and fulfill the sort of orders that big retailers, online and offline, were demanding. While at Malone Souliers, Luwolt also briefly produced shoes for Ungaro under license.
By 2018, the Malone’s and Luwolt’s business partnership had fallen apart, and Luwolt was dismissed from the company.
Malone later appointed Steven Hope, who has a strong e-commerce background, as chief executive officer.