‘Cynical’ fraudster must repay £50k Covid loan

A director of a non-existent courier business from London has been sentenced after using a £50,000 bounce back loan for his own personal use

Salih Ozhot, 41, was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Wood Green Crown Court after he admitted cheating taxpayers out of £50,000 by fraudulently applying for a Covid loan.

The Insolvency Service also successfully applied for a compensation order, meaning Ozhot will have to repay the £50,000 he fraudulently obtained in full.

Ozhot, of Southgate, London, claimed to run businesses as a courier and a shisha cafe, and applied for a bounce back loan in September 2020.

He applied for the loan on behalf of Kangaroo Courier Services, claiming the business had been set-up in November 2019. However, the business never traded and was ineligible for government support.

He withdrew £19,000 within one week of receiving the loan. Insolvency Service analysis of Ozhot’s transactions between September 2020 and February 2021 indicated he used the loan for personal rather than business purposes.

When questioned by Insolvency Service investigators, he claimed that he had spent £15,000 setting up a website for the bogus company called Kangaroo Courier Services.

Ozhot was declared bankrupt in October 2021 and accepted an eight-year bankruptcy undertaking in May 2022, restricting him from being able to borrow more than £500 without disclosing his bankrupt status.

He also cannot act as a company director without permission from a court.

Ozhot pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation when he appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in December 2023.

The court ordered Ozhot to pay the loan back at a rate of £500 a month.

Julie Barnes, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: ‘Salih Ozhot abused a scheme designed to offer genuine support to businesses through the pandemic. His actions were cynical, sophisticated and pre-planned.

‘He cheated the taxpayer for personal gain when the loans specified they were only to be used for the economic benefit of the business.

‘The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to take action against those who so flagrantly steal from the public purse.’

Sara White |Editor, Accountancy Daily

Sara White is editor of Accountancy Daily...

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