While viable businesses were shut down by the Government’s extreme covid shut downs in 2020 and 2021 fraudsters were setting up shell companies to claim Covid cash writes Harry Mottram.
ICSM has repeatedly highlighted the injustices of how legitimate firms were forced to close as their markets were taken away by the Government’s Covid policies. Millions were spent on PPE for hospitals which turned out to be useless to firms that had no history of supplying medical protective clothing while traditional suppliers were ignored. But the scandal of the Government granting loans and grants to companies to get them through the Covid Crisis has cost the nation’s tax payers eye-watering amounts of cash – now revealed in full by The Times.
Ian Carrotte of ICSM said: “We have warned from the start that telling the banks they would not be liable if the loans were not repaid was a mistake. Anecdotally we have heard countless stories of companies being set up simply to claim the cash and then once the money is in their bank accounts they spend it on anything but maintaining their business. Cars, holidays, home improvements – we’ve heard it all. While long standing businesses have stuck to the rules and continued to battle through the lock downs crooks have been allowed to get away with day light robbery.”
George Greenwood and James Hurley of The Times have exposed some of the worst crimes committed by fraudsters who took advantage of the Government’s lax regulations. In an article published today by the newspaper the journalists wrote: “Border force officials have stopped people at airports across Britain ‘carrying large amounts of money suspected from coronavirus bounce-back loans’, a Home Office source said. Other recipients of financial support during the pandemic used the money to fund gambling sprees, home improvements, cars and watches, it has emerged.
“They are among dozens of company directors who have been disqualified after misusing the loans scheme that was set up to support businesses during the pandemic. In many cases the individuals took out the loans before immediately transferring the funds into personal bank accounts and spending the money on themselves instead of their companies.”
Ian Carrotte of ICSM – the group dedicated to exposing potential company insolvencies and late payers so their members can avoid bad businesses – said the newspaper estimated £17 billion of the Government’s £47 billion bounce back loans would never be repaid. “An eye-watering £4.7 billion was lost to fraud,” he said, “according to The Times. Clearly fraud is something that potentially happens with Government contracts – it’s a fact of life – but this is on an industrial scale. £4.7 billion would pay for four new state of the art hospitals – with plenty of cash left over to help fund Action Fraud.”
The Times reported:
- A gambler used a £50,000 bounce-back loan to fund poker games after claiming his company turned over £200,000, even though he only had £2.72 in his account.
- One businessman breached scheme rules by securing more than ten pandemic loans for companies in the same corporate group.
- A sandwich shop owner received a £35,000 loan for his business before using it to fund the refurbishment of his garden, gambling losses and a new business that went bust within six months.
- A pub landlord paid himself £30,000 after claiming one of the business loans in “consultancy fees”.
- A soft drink company owner inflated his firm’s turnover by 100 times on his application to get a maximum £50,000 loan.
- A restaurant owner was able to get a loan after having already been evicted from his premises for not paying rent.
For the full article visit https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/suitcases-of-covid-loan-cash-seized-at-uks-borders-wcnnjd7r8
About ICSM Credit
ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.
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For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk