Crooked businessmen have been caught offering to sell dormant companies in the full knowledge that they will be used to make fraudulent claims for loans.
The Mail on Sunday today exposes the scam, which allows con artists to use the companies as a front to claim money under the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme, then close the firms and vanish.
It is feared the fraud could cost taxpayers billions of pounds at a time when millions of families face financial hardship.
Under Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s scheme, firms can borrow up to £50,000 interest-free for 12 months, with the loan guaranteed by the Government.
It has been a lifeline for small firms, but also provided rich pickings for fraudsters who
To make a successful application under the scheme, fraudsters have to convince a lender that their company was registered before last April and is still operating.
Posing as a potential buyer, an undercover reporter contacted a trader on eBay who was offering two companies, each with ‘No debs/no loans/no BBLS’. The seller gave his name as Shehroz Mukhtiar and when asked if he would sell one of the firms, he breezily replied: ‘Is it for bounce back purposes?’
Despite it being obvious to him that any BBLS claim using the firm would be fraudulent, he offered advice on how to apply. ‘Make the accounts for dormant companies and then apply… That’s the only option left, otherwise it’s hard, if you don’t have the bank account.’