Cornish couple banned from running businesses following Covid loan scam

Law Court

The husband-and-wife directors of a Cornish estate agents have been disqualified from being company directors for a combined 12 years after admitting their role in a Covid Bounce Back Loan scam.

David Elderkin, 56, overstated the annual turnover of Fowey River Limited by more than £180,000 to secure the £50,000 loan which was the maximum amount businesses were entitled to under the scheme.

Money from the loan was then transferred into his personal account, used to pay off a loan to his father and given to a connected company.

Elderkin was supported by his wife, Jennifer Elderkin, 55, who allowed the payments to be made.

David Elderkin, of Carnon Downs, Truro, signed a disqualification undertaking banning him from being a company director for eight years. Jennifer Elderkin, of the same address, signed a four-year undertaking.

Kevin Read, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “David Elderkin was responsible for applying for more Covid support than his business was entitled to and then using the funds for his personal benefit.

“His wife Jennifer Elderkin aided her husband’s misconduct by allowing the money to not be used for the economic benefit of their Fowey River business.”

David Elderkin successfully applied for the £50,000 Bounce Back Loan in May 2020, claiming the annual turnover of Fowey River was £250,000.

Companies could apply for a single loan of up to 25% of their turnover from 2019, with a maximum loan limit of £50,000 set under the rules of the scheme.

Investigations by the Insolvency Service revealed the real turnover of the business was £68,682, meaning the company was entitled to a loan of just over £17,000.

Money loaned to companies could only be used for the economic benefit of the business.

However, £10,000 was repaid to Elderkin’s father and more than £10,000 was paid into two credit cards in the name of Elderkin.

A further £10,000 was paid to another company the Elderkins were until recently directors of.

Fowey River went into liquidation in April 2021 having made no loan repayments.

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade accepted disqualification undertakings from the pair, and their bans both started on Wednesday 1 May.

The undertakings prevent them from being involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.