Contractor forced to repay £10k after ‘fraudulent’ Covid loan

A self-employed construction contractor who fraudulently obtained a £20,000 Covid bounceback loan has been ordered to pay back half the amount.
Adam Lennard, 58, was given an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for 15 months, and ordered to pay back £10,000 to the public purse, according to a statement by the Insolvency Service.

On 5 February, he was found guilty of fraud by false representation, contrary to section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006, at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Lennard was given a week to make the repayment. A spokesperson for the Insolvency Service confirmed that the payment was made before the 12 February deadline.

The government agency said that it discovered Lennard had fraudulently inflated his company’s turnover to claim the bounceback loan and sent the funds to his personal bank account.
According to the Insolvency Service statement, the court heard that Lennard had applied for a COVID loan of £20,000 in August 2020 based on his claim that his business turned over £80,000.

However, based on Smeaton Road in Woodford Green, his property maintenance business had a turnover of £50,000 in 2019.

The Insolvency Service noted in a 9 February statement that Lennard admitted in interviews that he used the loan “for his personal use” and transferred it to his account between August and November 2020. He was declared bankrupt in August 2021.

Insolvency Service chief investigator Julie Barnes said Lennard had “no intention of ever paying the money back” after he fraudulently obtained it.
She added, “The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to prosecute cases like this, and Lennard now has a criminal conviction as a consequence of his fraudulent actions”. Abuse of the bounceback loan system has been rife in the sector Small firms could claim up to a quarter of their turnover under the scheme, designed to ensure banks continued lending as lockdown restricted financial activity.