Aleksander Staskiewicz overstated his company turnover in order to secure the taxpayer funds
Aleksander Staskiewicz, 35, from Southampton, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment at Southampton Crown Court on 17 August 2023, for offences contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 and the Companies Act 2006.
Staskiewicz applied for a £20,000 Bounce Back Loan in May 2020 when the country was in lockdown. However, his company Think Gas Ltd had already been in financial difficulty before the pandemic struck, and he had considered closing it down.
Instead, he overstated his company’s turnover in his application for taxpayer funding and withdrew £19,600 the day after the loan was deposited in the company account. The day after this, he applied to close down his company by having it struck off from the Companies House register.
The striking-off application to dissolve a company makes clear that creditors, such as a bank with an outstanding loan, should be notified within seven days of applying to close the business, and that failure to notify interested parties is a criminal offence. Staskiewicz did not inform his bank.
The company’s affairs were investigated by the Insolvency Service after counter-fraud systems flagged the likelihood that fraud had occurred.
Attempting to avoid a custodial sentence, Staskiewicz told the court that he hoped to repay the loan money back within 12 months. However, he had made no effort to repay the loan in the past three years.
Peter Fulham – Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:
Aleksander Staskiewicz thought he could abuse the rules to exploit a scheme, backed by taxpayers, specifically designed to help businesses get through the pandemic.
He now has a criminal conviction as a consequence of his actions. We will not hesitate to prosecute such cases.
Aleksander Staskiewicz is of Southampton. His date of birth is July 1988.
Think Gas Ltd – Company No. 10638031
Staskiewicz pleaded guilty at Southampton Crown Court on 20 July 2023 to the following specific offences:
Fraud by misrepresentation contrary to sections 1 and 2 Fraud Act 2006 – eight months
Failure to notify creditor of a strike-off application contrary to section 1006 Companies Act 2006] – eight months
To be served concurrently making overall sentence of eight months.
[Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct] (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/insolvency-service).