Gwent felon with 49 offenses spent £50,000 Covid Bounce bank loan on Class A drugs


A felon with 49 offenses on his rap sheet was given a £50,000 Covid rebound loan and blew the lot on Class A drugs

  • Louis Maxwell, 35, claimed under Rishi Sunak’s Bounce Back Loan scheme
  • Serial con artist Maxwell has spent less than half the money – £22,000 – on a new lorry
  • Maxwell, from Newport, Gwent, blew the rest on Class A drugs
  • He later sold the truck, using the money from the sale to buy more medicine.










A well-known criminal has been handed a government-backed £50,000 coronavirus repayment loan – and squandered it all on drugs.

Serial con man Louis Maxwell, 35, has 16 previous convictions for 49 offenses – including 12 for dishonest behavior, nine for disqualified driving and six for burglary.

He claimed through Rishi Sunak’s Bounce Back Loan scheme to help his Newport-based Gwent tow truck business survive post-lockdown, spending less than half the money – £22,000 – on a new truck.

Maxwell swept the rest away with Class A drugs. He later sold the truck, using the money from the sale to buy more drugs.

Serial con man Louis Maxwell, 35, has 16 previous convictions for 49 offenses – including 12 for dishonest behavior, nine for driving while disqualified and six for burglary

He was jailed last May for driving a stolen car and filed for bankruptcy three months later, triggering an Insolvency Service investigation.

Maxwell owned the business Mr Tow Recovery Logistics using a Jeep Cherokee and trailer – although he was banned from driving himself.

Sue Tovery of the Insolvency Service said: “Taxpayers money has been made available to help real businesses get through the lockdown period and where there has been abuse we will not hesitate to act. “

Maxwell, from Newport, is now banned from borrowing more than £500 without disclosing his bankruptcy status, and he cannot act as a company director without court permission.

Maxwell had previously been mocked for looking like Beaker from the Muppets after police posted his picture while he was wanted for a driving violation.

Under Mr Sunak's scheme, businesses could borrow up to £50,000 interest-free for 12 months, with the loan backed by the government.

Under Mr Sunak’s scheme, businesses could borrow up to £50,000 interest-free for 12 months, with the loan backed by the government.

Police posted the photo of Maxwell on their Facebook page after he led them on a high-speed chase in 2017.

But the site was quickly taken over by aspiring comedians who mocked her curly haircut and cloudy-eyed appearance.

The police eventually tracked down Maxwell and arrested him, but not before he was ruthlessly compared to Bert from Sesame Street and Beaker from the Muppets online.

Last December furious MPs claimed fraudsters were able to steal almost £5billion from Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Covid Bounce Back loan scheme because the Government’s anti-fraud measures were ‘too little too late’.

A damning report from the spending watchdog found controls to ensure businesses did not request more than one bounce loan were ‘inadequate’ and being put in place ‘too slowly’.

The National Audit Office said that by the time the government implemented anti-fraud measures in June 2020 – a month after the scheme was launched – more than £28billion had already been paid out.

Further measures only started in September 2020, with ministers focusing on providing loans to support struggling businesses during the pandemic, the watchdog said.

In its report, the NAO also said around £17bn may never be repaid due to fraudulent activity as well as legitimate borrowers in default, citing official estimates.

The watchdog added that the government knew of the risks when launching the scheme, but needed to weigh them against the consequences of not providing businesses with money quickly.

Under Mr Sunak’s scheme, businesses could borrow up to £50,000 interest-free for 12 months, with the loan backed by the government.

It was a lifeline for small businesses, but also provided rich pickings for fraudsters who disappear, leaving the taxpayer to pay back the banks.

What was the Bounce Back Loan program? And what did the spending watchdog find?

What was the government’s coronavirus rebound loan scheme?

In addition to furlough support, businesses were able to claim money from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which was aimed at small businesses.

The pressures the government faced to make Covid loans fast meant banks were not carrying out some standard checks before making the loans.

BBLS has provided up to £50,000 to small businesses, with most cash going to businesses with fewer than ten employees.

The government has underwritten 80% of all CBILS loans and 100% of BBLS loans – although banks will likely have to exhaust all their options before asking the taxpayer.

Some lenders have already started paying for companies to re-enter Companies House in a bid to collect the debt.

In the March budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that £100million would be used to fund a task force of 1,000 HM Revenue & Customs investigators to tackle the misuse of the government’s leave and support schemes self-employment income.

What did the National Audit Office find?

The spending watchdog discovered that fraudsters stole billions through the scheme.

The NAO found that the government had moved too slowly to implement basic anti-fraud measures and that those controls were “inadequate”.

The government knew the risks when it launched the scheme, but had to weigh them against the consequences of not getting money to businesses quickly, the spending watchdog added.

According to a National Audit Office report, checks to ensure a business did not request more than one bounce loan were not put in place until June 2020, a month after the program was launched.

By then, 61% of the money that was to be loaned under the program had already been disbursed to the companies.

Further anti-fraud activities only started in September 2020 as the government focused on providing loans to support struggling businesses.

Auditing giant PwC, which was hired by the government, estimated that 7.5% of loans could be lost to fraud, at a potential cost to the taxpayer of £3.5billion. However, the report notes that the government estimated the fraudulent loans were worth £4.9bn, or 11% of the total, in March.

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