More than 12 months ago, we warned that the completion of a simple 2-page self-certification form online would result in a plethora of fraudulent claims. Our worst fears have been confirmed. Bounce Back Loan fraud is being forecast at more than half the £43bn lent and unfortunately the government has 100% liability for these loans, which means the UK taxpayer does.
Companies and individuals to be investigated and prosecuted face significant reputational damage, in addition to criminal penalties.
Legislation contains a number of offences that may be relevant in relation to fraudulent applications for Bounce Back Loans, including an offence of carrying on a fraudulent business.
The offences are punishable with a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. Following a conviction, authorities can seek the seizure and return of funds under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Police are likely to use existing powers available, such as applying for account freezing orders in order to prevent funds from being dissipated whilst investigations are on-going.
Mistakes, of course, can happen. Businesses need to ensure that they can show evidence of the information that has been submitted as part of any loan application. At Davidsons, we are able to undertake internal business checks to uncover any potential issues. Internal investigations are a crucial tool in working out what went wrong. If you have taken out a Bounce Back Loan Scheme for your business, believe you may have made an error when making a claim or you are facing investigation for Bounce Back Loan fraud, get in touch. Our expert team are here to help you with any enquiry you have on the BBLS.
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