Construction director gets 11-year ban for COVID-19 loan abuse

The director of a construction company, who abused a COVID-19 loan, has been given an 11-year ban from running a business.

Lavinia-Larisa Mociar, aged 31, was the sole director of L&M Construct Ltd, based in Harrow, London.

Mociar, who is originally from Romania, set up the business in 2018.

In 2020, when the pandemic struck, the government set up the Bounce Back loan scheme, which enabled struggling businesses to apply for loans to continue operating.

Using this scheme, Mociar claimed £50,000 towards her business, which was deposited to the company’s bank account in October 2020.

However, investigators from the Insolvency Service – the government arm that deals with financial support and tackles financial wrongdoing – discovered that Mociar had abused the loan.

Firms that made claims needed to be actively trading in 2020, according to the rules of the scheme. However, L&M Construct Ltd had ceased to trade one year before Mociar claimed the funds.

Mociar also exaggerated the turnover of the construction company in her application, the investigators found.

This meant that the company wrongly received the maximum amount of £50,000 from the government. It was also found that there was just £50 in the company account before this money came in.

In a further abuse of the scheme, the Insolvency Service said that Mociar withdrew more than £50,000 from the account at the end of 2020, which implied that the funds were not going towards business activities.

Companies House filings show that on 24 November 2021, Bhardwaj Limited’s Ashok Bhardwaj was appointed voluntary liquidator over L&M Construct Ltd.

The statement from the Insolvency Service said that the company dipped into liquidation owing £50,000, including the full value of the loan.

Mociar’s disqualification began on 8 November 2022, and she will be banned from  directly, or indirectly, becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.

Insolvency Service assistant director of investigation and enforcement services Tom Phillips said: “The lengthy disqualifications should serve as a reminder to others that the Insolvency Service will not shirk from its responsibility in taking action in order to protect the public and the taxpayer.”

Mociar could not be reached for comment.

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