£100k covid loans fraudster used cash to go on Jewellery Quarter spending spree

-Credit: (Image: Google)
-Credit: (Image: Google)

A covid loans fraudster handed £100,000 of taxpayers' money went on a spending spree in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. Sehrish Yasmin, 32, received the loans for her Manchester-based restaurant Manny Steak House.

The qualified nurse first applied for a £50,000 covid bounceback loan in May 2020. She secured a second loan for the same amount and company a month later.

Yasmin spent more than £12,000 of the cash buying jewellery in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. But she was not eligible under the rules of the scheme as businesses were only entitled to a single payout.

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The loan was also only meant to be used for the benefit of the business, not for personal purposes. Yasmin should also have started repaying the first loan a year after she received the funds but failed to do so.

She only started to repay money when Insolvency Service investigations began in December 2022. Yasmin committed a further offence when Manny Steak House was liquidated in May 2021, and she failed to deliv books and records to the liquidator upon request.

Yasmin recently finished repaying the loan, along with extra costs covering interest on the loans and the Insolvency Service’s investigation. Yasmin, of Grasmere Road, Cheadle, Greater Manchester, was sentenced to ten months in prison, suspended for 12 months, at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday, May 16.

She was also ordered to pay costs and compensation totalling £5,000 within 28 days. David Snasdell, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: "Bounceback loans were introduced by the government to help small and medium-sized businesses survive during the Covid pandemic.

"Yasmin exploited this taxpayer-backed scheme by applying for two loans when businesses were only entitled to one and compounded this by spending significant sums on jewellery. While we are, of course, pleased Yasmin has finally acknowledged her wrongdoing. and repaid the two loans in full, we're disappointed this only happened following our extensive investigations into her fraudulent activities."