The directors of a mobile catering firm have been disqualified for a total of 16 years after falsely claiming a £20,000 Bounce Back Loan (BBL).
Vicki Holland, 47 and Darren Robert Trutt, 51, both from Harlow in Essex, were directors of Crepe Heaven, which was incorporated in 2013 and ran as a mobile catering company until it went into liquidation in October 2021.
With Trutt's backing, Holland applied for a Bounce Back Loan for Crepe Heaven in 2020.
BBLs were government-backed loans designed to support businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. Under the rules of the scheme, companies were allowed to borrow up to 25% of their 2019 turnover, up to a maximum of a £50,000.
In the application for the loan, Holland stated that Crepe Heaven's turnover for 2019 was £100,000. The company a received a BBL payment of £20,000 in August 2020, but subsequently went into liquidation in October 2021.
At the point of liquidation, its debts were almost £21,000, including the full amount of the loan.
The liquidation triggered an Insolvency Service investigation, which discovered that Crepe Heaven's turnover in 2019 had been just over £13,000, rather than the £100,000 claimed, with income of less than £12,000. This would have entitled the company to a BBL of £2,960.
The Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Holland and Trutt for causing Crepe Heaven to overstate its turnover on its application for a BBL, which resulted in Crepe Heaven receiving £17,040 more than it was entitled.
Both directors' bans begin on 1 November 2022, with Holland's lasting for nine years and Trutt's ending after seven years.
The disqualifications prevent the pair from directly, or indirectly, becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.
The liquidator has recovered £5,000 from the directors as a final settlement.
Martin Gitner, deputy head of insolvent investigation, said: "Bounce back loans were introduced to help viable businesses through the most testing of times, providing them with the financial support during the pandemic to protect jobs and return to prosperity.
"The conduct of Vicki Holland and Darren Trutt fell extremely short of the standards required of company directors and they been removed from the corporate arena for a significant amount of time. Their bans should serve as a clear warning that if you abuse Government support schemes you should expect to be caught and punished."
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