SHOPS OWNER IN SMALL BUSINESS RATE RELIEF FRAUD: CLAIMED ON TWO PREMISES (BUT YOU CAN ONLY LEGALLY CLAIM ON ONE)

A business owner has been sentenced to a twenty-six week suspended prison sentence for fraudulently obtaining small business rate relief on two separate businesses, one in Orpington and one in Eltham.

The shop owner, from Forest Hill pleaded guilty to two offences under the Fraud Act 2006, at Bromley magistrates court in January 2019 and was sentenced at Croydon crown court on 29 March to imprisonment (suspended for 12 months) for having fraudulently obtained a small business rate relief on two separate business premises. He was also ordered to work 150 hours of unpaid work in the community.

The business owner had applied for small business rate relief for his business on Orpington High Street as well as for his other business on Sidcup Road, Eltham.

“Business owners can apply for small business rate relief if the business only uses one property” said a Bromley council spokesman. “Through his fraudulent applications, the owner defrauded a total of £10,899 from Greenwich and Bromley councils.

“With Bromley and Greenwich councils working together in an anti-fraud partnership, evidence was gathered and under interview the businessman admitted completing and signing both small business rate relief applications but indicated that the Orpington franchise had been sold, therefore he had not been responsible for the business rates on that premises.

“He repaid £1,000 of the money he defrauded, but in addition to  the suspended sentence and community service, was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,300 and the remaining balance of the debt owed amounting to £9,899 within 24 months.”

To report an incident of fraud in the borough of Bromley and/or Greenwich call 0800 169 6975. Alternatively, email fraud@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or audit@bromley.gov.uk and any information provided will be treated in confidence. (Source: Bromley council press release)

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