Man spent fraudulent Covid loan for non-existent business on BMW

A man who cheated taxpayers out of £50,000 by using the funds from a Covid loan to replace his car has been sentenced for fraud.

James Todd, 37, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, when he appeared at Sheffield Crown Court.

Todd was also ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work and pay compensation of £2,000 at a rate of £100 a month.

David Snasdell, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “James Todd invented the turnover for an entirely fictitious business that was not trading when the pandemic began as he was in full-time employment.

“Todd then used the loan entirely for personal purposes, upgrading his car and selling his previous vehicle within just a few weeks.

“This was taxpayers’ money and the Insolvency Service will not hesitate to take action against those who have so flagrantly stolen from the public purse.”

Todd, of Milnrow View, Sheffield, applied for the £50,000 Bounce Back Loan in July 2020, claiming his Pro Detailing business had an annual turnover of £255,000.

However, Insolvency Service investigations revealed that Pro Detailing was not trading and that Todd was actually in full-time employment both at the start of the pandemic and when he made his loan application.

Todd transferred £32,500 of the funds to his own personal account within just six days of receiving the loan. He also withdrew £1,250 and transferred a further £16,500 to associates in the same period.

Analysis of Todd’s bank account by the Insolvency Service revealed he made two payments totalling £11,929 to a car finance company for his BMW and sold his old vehicle in early August for £5,220.

Todd accepted a 10-year Bankruptcy Restrictions Undertaking in June 2022, restricting him from being able to borrow more than £500 without disclosing his bankrupt status.

The bankruptcy restrictions also mean he cannot act as a company director without permission from a court.