Former chip shop owner pleads guilty to Covid grant fraud

Huseyin Bozkina falsely obtained over £19,000 of grants for Popeye’s in Cockfosters despite no longer running it

Fish and chips in a polystyrene container
Gvjekoslav, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A former Cockfosters chip shop owner has pleaded guilty to fraud after falsely obtaining more than £19,000 of Covid business grants.

Huseyin Bozkina, of Blanchard Grove, Enfield, made eight applications to Barnet Council for the grants, which were available to help struggling businesses during the pandemic.

Bozkina previously ran Popeye’s fish and chip shop on Mount Parade, Cockfosters but was no longer trading when he applied for the grants which were worth £19,246 in total. He had handed the business to someone else who was paying him rent.

An investigation by the council’s counter-fraud team found some of the documents supplied to support the applications had been altered to make it look like he had still been trading.

Bozkina admitted to making the applications and receiving the funds but denied producing false documents, claiming that someone called Mahmood must have altered and submitted them without his knowledge.

However, he could not show any correspondence between him and Mahmood, claiming that he had ‘air dropped’ the documents to his phone. Further investigations found the phone number provided for Mahmood was linked to Bozkina, and the phone line was registered months after the offences took place.

Appearing at Willesden Magistrates Court on 23th May, Bozkina pleaded guilty to five counts of Fraud by False Representation (section 2 Fraud Act 2006) and four offences contrary to section 7 Fraud Act 2006: supplying articles for use in the course of or in connection with fraud. The matter was committed to Harrow Crown Court for sentencing.

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “It is vitally important that we protect public funds so that they can be used for their intended purpose – to benefit the residents of our borough.

“We will pursue anyone found to be making fraudulent claims at the taxpayer’s expense and do everything within our power to ensure they are brought to justice.”

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