Civil’s boss banned after taking £200,000 in bounce back loans

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Stephen Burke, 63, from Rotherham overstated four companies accounts and has been disqualified as a director for 11 years after he took £200,000 off taxpayers’ money through the Bounce Back Loan scheme that his companies were not entitled to.

Burke was director of four companies that provided services to construction projects Yorkshire Site Preparation Ltd, Woodhouse Civil Engineering Ltd, Yorkshire Plant Hire and Sales Ltd, and Richmond Brokers Ltd.

One of the four companies, Yorkshire Site Preparation Ltd, was listed as dormant with Companies House by January 2020. Of the other three, their company accounts ending January 2020 indicated turnover ranging from just £635 to £3,400.

Despite this, Burke, who was sole director of each company by 2020, stated on the application forms that turnover was between £200,000 and £320,000 for each company. This allowed him to secure four Bounce Back Loans for the full £50,000 permitted under the scheme.

He spent £174,000 repaying a personal loan to his former partner, which was also a breach of the loans’ conditions as they could only be spent on legitimate business expenditure.

In February 2021, Burke sought to dissolve all four companies. This was blocked due to the outstanding loans being identified, and instead the companies were placed in liquidation. The Liquidator has begun recovery action.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy accepted a disqualification undertaking from Stephen John Burke, after he admitted obtaining £200,000 in government Bounce Back Loans, the maximum amount available of £50,000 per company, by overstating company turnover, then using the funds obtained to repay a personal loan and not for the economic benefit of the company.

His ban is effective from 4 August 2022 and lasts for 11 years.

The disqualification undertaking prevents him from directly, or indirectly, becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.

Rob Clarke, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service commented saying that:

“Coronavirus support schemes were introduced to help British businesses through the most testing of times, providing them with the financial support to protect jobs and return to prosperity.

Stephen Burke not only sought to defraud the Bounce Back Loan scheme for personal gain, but then sought to cover his tracks by dissolving the companies he’d used. This abhorrent conduct has rightly resulted in a lengthy ban, removing his ability to trade with the benefit of limited liability until 2033″.