A number of prosecutions have been made in relation to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), a government support scheme set up during the pandemic. This includes a former councillor who applied for a grant of £10,000, despite not being eligible.
Fraud and Bounce Back Loans
If you are accused of fraud – be it Bounce Back Loan fraud or otherwise – you need a fraud solicitor on your side. Contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors for expert legal representation. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Bounce back loan fraud
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme invited UK businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to apply for a government-backed loan. At the time, much was made of the lack of due diligence procedures. Industry experts said that the BBLS was open to abuse, and could potentially cost the UK taxpayer billions of pounds.
Last year, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy estimated that 37% of the loans will not be repaid, with 11% attributed to fraudulent applications. Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers believes the fraud rate is closer to 7.5%, although this has not been verified by the National Audit Office.
Bounce back loan fraud prosecutions
The government recognises that counter-fraud measures were brought in too late, so are instead focused on detection, rather than prevention. Various government agencies are working together to catch so-called ‘Covid-19 fraudsters’. A number of prosecutions have already taken place, with more expected to follow. Are you accused of Covid 19 Fraud ?
One example is that of Harman Bangar, who was working as a councillor in Wolverhampton. He oversaw the council’s implementation of the BBLS. The prosecution says he used this knowledge to his advantage when he and his wife applied for a business grant of £10,000. They claimed that the jointly-owned business had been operational since October 2019, but an investigation found this information to be false. The two have been convicted but not yet sentenced, as Mr Bangar is appealing his conviction.
Artem Terzyan and Deivis Grochiatskij have been sentenced to 17 years’ and 16 years’ imprisonment respectively for the part they played in bounce back loan fraud. While on bail for other offences, the pair set up hundreds of shell companies and used a network of criminals under their control to claim £10 million under the scheme.
In a third case, a company was closed down by the High Court after one of its directors applied for a £50,000 bounce back loan – even though the company had ceased trading. It was found that the Regal Luxury Lodges Ltd bank account was being misused. A bank account held by a third party was being used to take payments from would-be customers.
Fraud solicitors – England and Wales
At Ashmans Solicitors, we have a dedicated team of fraud and financial crime lawyers. We are experts in our field and have secured a number of acquittals in high-profile fraud cases. If you have been accused of fraud or a financial crime, we are best placed to help you.
Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.