With three financiers having been arrested over alleged coronavirus loan fraud, Rahman Ravelli’s Syed Rahman wrote for Lawyer Monthly on why he expects more such investigations.
In his article, Syed considers the scale of coronavirus loans and the predictions that have already been made regarding the total amount that could be lost, either through fraud or defaults on those loans.
His piece details the conditions that had to be satisfied in order to qualify for the Bounce Back Loan (BBL) scheme; which has seen more than £44 billion lent to small businesses. According to him, such huge amounts of money being available will have attracted those looking to make fraudulent gains.
While the circumstances surrounding the pandemic and the resulting loans are unprecedented, Syed explains that such fraud is certainly covered by the Fraud Act 2006: Section 2 creates an offence of making false representations, while Section 3 creates an offence of fraud by abuse of position.
But he emphasises that even if a business did not intend to commit fraud regarding pandemic loans, it could still come under investigation if it made an incorrect claim through a genuine, honest mistake. He points out that Schedule 16 of the Finance Act 2020 obliges businesses to tell HM Revenue and Customs if an award has been wrongly claimed.