Court orders ‘cynical’ fraudster who abused Covid support scheme to repay loan in full

  • Salih Ozhot applied for a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan to support his business, but ended up using the money for his own personal gain 
  • His actions were described by Insolvency Service investigators as “cynical”, “sophisticated” and “pre-planned” 
  • Ozhot, who was declared bankrupt in 2021, will have to repay the loan in full  

A North London man who admitted cheating taxpayers out of £50,000 by fraudulently applying for a Covid loan has been ordered to pay the money back in full. 

Salih Ozhot, 41, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, when he appeared at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday 2 February. 

The Insolvency Service also successfully applied for a compensation order, meaning Ozhot will have to repay the £50,000 he fraudulently obtained. 

Julie Barnes, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: 

Salih Ozhot abused a scheme designed to offer genuine support to businesses through the pandemic. His actions were cynical, sophisticated and pre-planned. 

He cheated the taxpayer for personal gain when the loans specified they were only to be used for the economic benefit of the business. 

The Insolvency Service will not hesitate to take action against those who so flagrantly steal from the public purse. 

Ozhot, of The Bourne, Southgate, London, who claimed to run businesses as a courier and a shisha cafe, applied for a Bounce Back Loan in September 2020. 

He withdrew £19,000 within one week of receiving the loan. Insolvency Service analysis of Ozhot’s transactions between September 2020 and February 2021 indicated he used the loan for personal rather than business purposes. 

Ozhot was declared bankrupt in October 2021 and accepted an eight-year bankruptcy undertaking in May 2022, restricting him from being able to borrow more than £500 without disclosing his bankrupt status. 

He also cannot act as a company director without permission from a court. 

Ozhot pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation when he appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in December 2023. 

The court ordered Ozhot to pay the loan back at a rate of £500 a month. 

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