Two businesses have been closed down after submitting false documents to at least 41 local authorities and the government’s bounce back loan (BBL) scheme to secure £230,000 worth of emergency support during the pandemic.
LV Distributions and SIO Traders were wound up in the high court during separate hearings on 27 July 2021 following enquiries conducted by the Insolvency Service, which proved neither company ever traded.
Councils in Wiltshire, Herefordshire and Guildford were among those targeted.
Investigators uncovered that SIO Traders registered its offices in Whitchurch, Shropshire but provided false lease documents and utility bills to 14 different local authorities to fraudulently claim that it traded out of premises in their respective areas.
SIO Traders claimed to supply personal protective equipment and secured £95,000 worth of business grants from 10 local authorities. The company also received a £50,000 BBL that it was not entitled to.
Separately, LV Distributions had registered offices in Redhill, Surrey, and claimed to sell medical care products.
In a 10-day period between 17 and 27 August 2020, LV Distributions provided false lease documents and utility bills to 27 local authorities.
The company fraudulently secured £35,000 in business grants from two local authorities, as well as a £50,000 BBL.
Investigators, however, uncovered that the premises LV Distributions falsely claimed to operate from were either unoccupied, up for rent or occupied by a different company.
“This decisive enforcement action shows that we will not tolerate shameless attempts to defraud the taxpayer and falsely claim public money intended to help businesses through the pandemic,” Paul Scully, small business minister, said.
“We are cracking down on Covid fraud across the board and those who have tried to take support they were not entitled to, which was given in response to the worst crisis of our lifetimes, can expect to face heavy consequences.”
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