Former restaurant director used £12,000 of Covid business loans to buy jewellery

Credit: MEN Media

A former restaurant director splurged more than £12,000 of taxpayers' money on jewellery after fraudulently obtaining two Government loans during the Covid pandemic.Sehrish Yasmin applied for two loans totalling £100,000 for her company Manny Steak House Ltd - despite businesses only being entitled to a single loan under the rules of the scheme.The 32-year-old first applied for £50,000 from the Bounce Back Loan Scheme on behalf of the company in May 2020.

She then secured a second £50,000 loan for the same company, which traded as Toro's Steakhouse on Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, south Manchester, just one month later.

Yasmin, who is also a qualified nurse, then proceeded to spend more than £12,000 in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham with the funds, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Toro's Steakhouse in Rusholme. Credit: MEN Media

Last week Yasmin, of Grasmere Road, Cheadle, Greater Manchester, was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for 12 months.

During a sentencing hearing on 16 May, Yasmin, who has now paid the two loans back in full, was also ordered to pay costs and compensation totalling £5,000 within 28 days.

The Government's Bounce Back Loan Scheme was launched to enable smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus pandemic. Money from the loan could also only be used for the economic benefit of the business, not for personal purposes.

Yasmin should have started repaying each loan one year after she received the funds in 2020, but only started to do so once Insolvency Service investigations began in December 2022, the court heard.She committed a further offence when Manny Steak House Ltd was liquidated in May 2021 by not delivering books and records to the liquidator when requested.David Snasdell, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: "Bounce Back Loans were introduced by the government to help small and medium-sized businesses survive during the Covid pandemic.

"Sehrish 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 that Yasmin has finally acknowledged her wrongdoing and repaid the two loans in full, we are disappointed that this only happened following our extensive investigations into her fraudulent activities."Attempts have been made to contact Yasmin for comment.

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