A businessman from Stanmore has been sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to fraud by abusing the Bounce Back Loan scheme.
Rajesh Dhirajlal Vaghela, 46, from Stanmore, received a £25,000 loan before closing his business in an effort to avoid repaying the taxpayer loan.
Vaghela was also ordered to pay £2150 court costs. He had repaid the loan in full before being sentenced. The sentence follows six other criminal prosecutions of company directors for Covid loan abuse by the Insolvency Service in the last year, all of which resulted in convictions, including one immediate imprisonment.
Peter Fulham, Chief Investigator of the Insolvency Service’s Criminal Investigation Team, said: “Directors who abused the Covid-19 financial support schemes, which were provided by the government to support genuine businesses in need of help during the pandemic, have exploited taxpayers.
“This sentence reflects the thoroughly dishonest conduct of Rajesh Vaghela and should serve as a warning to others who engaged in this behaviour that they are at risk of criminal prosecutions and could potentially end up in prison.”