Insolvency Service cracks down on misuse of Bounce Back Loans

26th October 2021

Three directors have been banned following investigations which found that nearly £100,000 worth of Bounce Back loans had been inappropriately applied for, or misused following investigations by the Insolvency Service.

The Bounce Back Loan (BBL) scheme ran to March 2021 and provided loans of up £50,000 to help businesses survive the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Insolvency Service investigation found that company Director, Rafael Scher used N&S Solutions to apply for a Bounce Back Loan of £30,000 on 15th May 2020. This was despite the company being insolvent and had already ceased to trade, meaning there was no prospect of repayment of the loan. The company had entered administration in August 2019 with debts of around £150,000. It later entered liquidation on 23 June 2020.

Scher used the £30,000 loan to pay £29,940 to a single trade creditor, but ignored other creditors with sizable debts, and also the company’s tax liabilities which amounted to over £94,000. Scher signed a disqualification undertaking which prevents him from acting as a director for 9 years. The disqualification starts on 25 October 2021.

Another investigation found that  Mujeebullah Khan improperly applied for a government-backed Bounce Back Loan of £50,000 in the business name after the sale of the company. The money was used to repay a business creditor and who was also a relative of Muhammed Omair Javaid.

Both Mujeebullah Khan and Muhammed Omair Javaid made themselves bankrupt on 24 May 2021, citing debts of over £200,000 that included the Bounce Back Loan. Both Mujeebullah Khan and Muhammed Omair Javaid signed bankruptcy undertakings that extend their restrictions for 8 years. This means they are limited to what credit they can access, as well as not being able to act as a company director without the permission of the court.

Whilst another investigation issues an 8-year bankruptcy restriction for Nuneaton publican. On 11 November 2020 Malcolm Wilks received a Bounce Back Loan of £19,000. A day later, the supervisor of his IVA terminated the agreement and confirmed to the Insolvency Service that Wilks had only made 2 repayments.

As a result of the Insolvency Service investigation, it was established that Wilks transferred nearly £17,000 of the Bounce Back Loan into his personal bank accounts. From there, he paid over £4,100 to his ex-girlfriend and spent £1,120 on online gambling. Nearly £3,500 was withdrawn in cash and cannot be accounted for. Only £6,500 was allocated as wages for himself to cover the period when he wasn’t working.

Separately, Wilks also received £1,100 in business rates refunds in December 2020, just weeks prior to declaring himself bankrupt. He received a further £10,500 in subsequent weeks but failed to disclose this to the Official Receiver. On 27 September 2021, Malcolm Wilks signed a bankruptcy restriction undertaking that extends the duration of his bankruptcy for 8 years, starting on 18 December 2021.

Alan Draycott, the Deputy Official Receiver, said “The Government loan schemes have provided a lifeline to millions of businesses across the UK – helping them to continue trading during the pandemic and protecting millions of jobs. As these three cases show, the Insolvency Service will not hesitate to investigate and use our powers against those who abused the COVID-19 support schemes.”