Husband And Wife Estate Agents Hit With Lengthy Bans After Abuse Of Covid Loan

A married couple who headed up an estate agency in Cornwall have been banned from being company directors after admitting their role in abusing Covid business loans.

David Elderkin, 56, overstated the annual turnover of Fowey River Limited by more than £180,000 to secure the £50,000 Bounce Back Loan, which was the maximum amount businesses were entitled to under the scheme to help companies recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The loan was used to pay off money he owed his father, transferred into his personal account, and handed to a related company.

His wife, Jennifer Elderkin, has also been banned as a director after allowing the funds to be used for their personal benefit.

The husband-and-wife directors of the Cornish estate agents have been disqualified from being company directors for a combined 12 years after admitting their role in Covid Bounce Back Loan abuse.

The couple from Carnon Downs, near Truro, were also until 29 April this year, the directors of I for Design Ltd which used to have retail shops in Truro and Fowey called The Clementine. The store in Fowey is now called LIGA Eco Store and sells eco living products. According to their own LinkedIn pages the couple are still both involved with LIGA.

Following the action by the government’s Insolvency Service, David Elderkin signed a disqualification undertaking banning him from being a company director for eight years. Jennifer Elderkin signed a four-year undertaking.

Kevin Read, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “David Elderkin was responsible for applying for more Covid support than his business was entitled to and then using the funds for his personal benefit.

“His wife Jennifer Elderkin aided her husband’s misconduct by allowing the money to not be used for the economic benefit of their Fowey River business.

“Tackling abuse of the Bounce Back Loan scheme is a key priority for the Insolvency Service and the behaviour of the Elderkins represents a significant breach of the standards that are expected of company directors.”

David Elderkin successfully applied for the £50,000 Bounce Back Loan in May 2020, claiming the annual turnover of Fowey River was £250,000.

Companies could apply for a single loan of up to 25% of their turnover from 2019, with a maximum loan limit of £50,000 set under the rules of the scheme.

Investigations by the Insolvency Service revealed the real turnover of the business was £68,682, meaning the company was entitled to a loan of just over £17,000.

Money loaned to companies could only be used for the economic benefit of the business.

However, £10,000 was repaid to Elderkin’s father and more than £10,000 was paid into two credit cards in the name of Elderkin.

A further £10,000 was paid to another company the Elderkins were until recently directors of.

Fowey River went into liquidation in April 2021 having made no loan repayments.

The secretary of state for Business and Trade accepted disqualification undertakings from the pair, and their bans both started on 1 May.

The undertakings prevent them from being involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.

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