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London-Based Builder Sentenced for COVID Loan Abuse

Self-employed builder from Hounslow overstated income to claim £50,000 Bounce Back Loan then lost it in scam crypto investment scheme


London-Based Builder Sentenced for COVID Loan Abuse
London-Based Builder Sentenced for COVID Loan Abuse

Lukasz Nowak, 43, a self-employed builder from Hounslow, West London, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Lincoln Crown Court on 27 November 2023. He was also ordered to pay £12,000 compensation to the bank from which he borrowed the money.


Nowak applied for a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan in October 2020. He received the maximum £50,000 loan after stating on the loan application that his business had a turnover of £205,000 for the previous tax year.


But the court heard that Nowak had overstated his income, which was approximately £20,000 for the relevant period, in order to claim the money.


Under the rules of the scheme businesses could claim up to £50,000, depending on their previous year’s turnover, and the money had to be used for the financial support of the business. However Nowak used the loan money to invest in cryptocurrency through an online broker.


But the crypto broker was also committing fraud and stole the full amount of the Bounce Back Loan money that Nowak had believed he was investing. Nowak was later declared bankrupt in July 2021.


Nowak admitted his actions in November 2022, during an investigation by the Insolvency Service and pleaded guilty at a first hearing at Boston Magistrates’ Court on 9 October 2023.

Julie Barnes, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

Lukasz Nowak took advantage of a scheme designed to help those in financial need, without thought for anyone else. Nowak’s reckless actions, driven by intention to make a personal gain, resulted in loss to the public purse.
His sentence shows that the Insolvency Service will not tolerate abuse of taxpayers’ money.

Her Honour Judge Sjölin Knight also included 200 hours unpaid work and 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days - a measure which helps to address offending behaviour - as part of his sentence.

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