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‘Bounce back’ loan fraudster faces jail after trying to swindle £240,000 from scheme meant for firms

A human resources manager who tried to swindle up to £240,000 in Covid-support bounceback loans meant for firms struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic is facing jail.

Timilehin ‘Yvette’ Olasemo, 38, of Romford, made eight separate claims for £30,000 bank loans on behalf of her employer Essex Cares Ltd.

Southwark Crown Court heard the company and its managers were oblivious to the fraud. 

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme was rushed out by the Chancellor in May after businesses complained banks were refusing to lend under the original emergency loan scheme.

More than 1.2million firms have applied for loans of up to £50,000, which are offered via banks but are 100 per cent guaranteed by taxpayers.

But it’s feared the system is being abused as the British Business Bank told MPs last week that lenders had blocked almost 27,000 dubious applications to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme over concerns they could be fraudulent.

Timilehin 'Yvette' Olasemo, 38, (pictured) made eight separate claims for £30,000 bank loans on behalf of her employer Essex Cares Ltd

Timilehin ‘Yvette’ Olasemo, 38, (pictured) made eight separate claims for £30,000 bank loans on behalf of her employer Essex Cares Ltd

 The figure, revealed to the Public Accounts Committee, equates to 2.5 per cent of the cash handed out under the £40 billion scheme. 

This raises questions about how many fraudulent claims were able to get cash. 

Olasemo appeared at court wearing a white polka dot dress and admitted conspiring to commit fraud by false representation in relation to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) claims at the court on Thursday.

The mother of two had also been accused of helping her friend Olufemi Akkineye, 33, carry out a ‘romance fraud’ by befriending men on dating sites.

Prosecutor Gareth Munday said Akkineye set up a profile of a woman calling herself Catherine Adams with fake pictures to convince potential suitors to send ‘her’ money.

‘They contacted individual men posing as Catherine Adams and Mrs Olasemo was the female voice to speak to them,’ he said.

Akkineye also defrauded businesses and individuals by diverting legitimate payments to bank accounts owned by him and other fraudsters between 2014 and 2020, the court heard.

Olasemo admitted conspiring to commit fraud by false representation in relation to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) claims at Southwark Crown Court (pictured) on Thursday

Olasemo admitted conspiring to commit fraud by false representation in relation to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) claims at Southwark Crown Court (pictured) on Thursday

Janice Brennan, defending Olasemo, asked for reports to be prepared before she is sentenced and said: ‘Although obviously the sentence is to be of immediate imprisonment, she has two dependent children and at the moment there is a lack of complete certainty of who is going to take care of them.’

Adjourning sentence until November 27, judge Alexander Milne told the pair: ‘You will be remanded in custody.

‘I have ordered preparation of pre-sentence reports for both.’

Olasemo, of Romford, admitted conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.

She denied fraud in respect of the dating site scam and the charge was ordered to lie on the file.

Akkineye, whose address was given in Wandsworth prison, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and a single count of money laundering.

They were remanded in custody until November 27.

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