Call for additional investment to combat bounce back loan fraud
Last month I wrote an article about the Government’s plans for a £25 million “fraud squad” to crack down on criminal activity relating to bounce back loans (“BBLs”) and the potential liability of individuals and lenders in certain circumstances. A link to my previous article appears below:
As specific cases are reported and more information emerges on the extent of the abuse of BBLs, the Guardian has recently reported that despite the Government’s plans, MPs, campaigners and the legal profession are concerned that the agencies tasked with recovering these monies are severely under-funded. It is reported that government agencies have had requests for additional funding refused by ministers.
Susan Hawley, the executive director of campaign group, Spotlight on Corruption, is reported to have said: “The same skills you need for tackling corruption and fraud have been decimated through the years. No one’s bleeding, or shouting. You can’t have an immediate response to it. Fraud is always being deprioritised as a low-harm issue.” The same campaign group is seeking, through Tribunal proceedings, to compel the British Business Bank (the semi-independent body which administered the BBL scheme on behalf of the Government) to release the names of all borrowers to facilitate investigations into the misuse of BBLs.
The article from The Guardian details how bounce back loans were used to pay for personal items such as cars, watches and even a jetski.
If you are a director or a company faced with a claim relating to a BBL or other covid-support scheme or if you require advice more generally in relation to any aspect of corporate or personal insolvency, please contact John Bradshaw or Sarah Mower in our Insolvency & Business Recovery Team.
Sarah Mower is a chartered legal executive and specialist in Insolvency & Business Recovery at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.