Another Fraudulent Bounce-Back Loan

Posted on May 07, 2024. by NTI

Ok, we admit it!  The NTI newsroom have used the horse bolting joke before when discussing the Insolvency Service’s actions against individuals who have taken liberties with the support schemes during the pandemic.  We just wanted to add a different touch of déjà vu to today’s news.

The latest press release relates to a Mr O’Keeffe, who successfully (which makes it sound like it was a rigorous process which we all know it wasn’t) applied for a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan in July 2020 on behalf of what he claimed was his Trainersource business.  One rather large fly in the ointment - the business did not, and never had, existed

Surprise surprise, Mr O’Keeffe used the funds for general living expenses and had no intention of ever paying the loan back.  As a result, late last month Southwark Crown Court sentenced him to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as a three-month curfew and an order to complete 30 days of rehabilitation activity.

Julie Barnes, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “Rian O’Keeffe abused the government-backed Bounce Back Loan Scheme designed to help businesses through the pandemic. He claimed to own a business that was never in existence, provided a totally fictitious turnover, and used the funds he fraudulently secured for his own personal use.”

In interviews, he admitted to Insolvency Service investigators that his statement was inaccurate (a touch of an understatement there), accepting he had not started a business on that date or subsequently. Trainersource never traded and was only an idea O’Keeffe had for a business which he claimed was why he applied for the loan.

Soon after obtaining the loan, O’Keeffe made more than 150 transfers to two personal accounts between August and October 2020. He withdrew £14,000 on the day he received the loan and a further £8,000 just over a month later.

He was declared bankrupt in November 2021 and accepted a 12-year Bankruptcy Restrictions Undertaking (BRU) in October 2022.

We understand the Insolvency Service were last seen trying to catch yesterday’s ferry.

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