By Niamh Tracey | 8 September, 2023

Plumber jailed for £20k bounce back fraud

A director of a Hampshire plumbing and heating installation company who illegally took out a bounce back loan has been jailed for eight months

Aleksander Staskiewicz, 35, from Southampton, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment at Southampton Crown Court on 17 August 2023 after claiming a £20,000 bounce back loan and then almost immediately applying to dissolve his company.

In May 2020 Staskiewicz applied for a £20,000 loan when the country was in lockdown. However, his company Think Gas Ltd had already been in financial difficulty before the pandemic had struck, and he had considered closing it down in May 2019, only two years after the business was set up.

Instead, when making his loan application, he overstated his company’s turnover as £80,000 and withdrew £19,600 the day after the loan was deposited in the company account.

Under the rules of the bounce back loan scheme, an applicant could borrow up to a maximum of 25% of their annual turnover.

The striking-off application to dissolve a company makes clear that creditors, such as a bank with an outstanding loan, should be notified within seven days of applying to close the business, and that failure to notify interested parties is a criminal offence. Staskiewicz did not inform his bank.

The company officially dissolved in October 2020, less than five months after the bounce back loan was secured.

The company’s affairs were investigated by the Insolvency Service after counter-fraud systems flagged the likelihood that fraud had occurred.

Attempting to avoid a custodial sentence, Staskiewicz told the court that he hoped to repay the loan money back within 12 months. However, he had made no effort to repay the loan in the past three years.

Peter Fulham, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: ‘Aleksander Staskiewicz thought he could abuse the rules to exploit a scheme, backed by taxpayers, specifically designed to help businesses get through the pandemic.

‘He now has a criminal conviction as a consequence of his actions. We will not hesitate to prosecute such cases.’

Staskiewicz was sentenced for offences contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 and the Companies Act 2006.

Source: Accountancy Daily