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Sunday, April 14, 2024
LegalFraudster who illegally claimed £10,000 Covid grant sentenced

Fraudster who illegally claimed £10,000 Covid grant sentenced

The director of an IT consultancy firm who lied to obtain a £10,000 Covid-19 Small Business Rates Grant (SBRG) has been sentenced in court.

 

In August 2020 Manchester City Council’s Business Rates Team were made aware of potential irregularities regarding a SBRG claimed on behalf of Spry IT Consultancy Services Limited, of Cariocca Business Park.

Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, these grants were intended for qualifying businesses who were eligible for small business rates relief, trading at the premises the claim was made for and who had been forced to close during lockdown restrictions.

A grant of £10,000 was subsequently made to the company.

It was discovered that the company’s director Rizwan Majeed, 35, of Lecester Road Manchester, fraudulently applied for this grant as at the time of the application – April 24, 2020 – the business was no longer trading at Cariocca Park. It had vacated the premises on February 29, 2020.

At an initial hearing held at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on April 21, 2022 both defendants failed to attend. At a second hearing, held on July 28, guilty pleas were entered by both the company and by Majeed on the charge of fraud by false representation.

Sentenced at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on October 6, 2022, Majeed was ordered to pay a £1,600 fine, costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £190.

The defendant had already repaid the fraudulently obtained £10,000.

The company was ordered to pay a fine of £3,300, costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £190.

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Finance for Manchester City Council said: “The Covid-19 business grant programme was brought in during an exceptionally difficult period in Manchester’s history. Business owners faced huge uncertainty and many, sadly, were forced to close due to the devastating impact of lockdowns.

“For the vast majority of applicants these grants were a lifeline but, in this case, it was an opportunity to get rich quick.

“I am grateful for the diligence shown by our business rates and legal team in tracking down this fraudulent claim and successfully securing a prosecution.”

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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