Property firm boss one of 830 disqualified over dodgy Covid loans

Richard Ward helped redevelop a landmark property in Huddersfield several years ago but has now been disqualified from being a company director for 12 years.


A property developer has been named as one of 831 company directors banned in 2023-24 for Covid support scheme abuse, up more than 80% on the previous year.

Richard Ward

Richard Ward, of North Cross Road, Huddersfield, was disqualified for 12 years after an Insolvency Service investigation discovered he had applied for three Bounce Back Loans worth a combined £120,000 in 2020 on behalf of Colt House Developers Ltd (named after a previous address of his) and two other firms involved in other areas of business including horse racing.

Ward’s development activities are well-known in Huddersfield, where his firm Colt House Developers Ltd turned a large historic building into flats, but is better known for his connections to horse racing and a well-known app for helping people predict race winners.

But at the time of the Covid loan applications, none of the companies had any money in their bank accounts before receiving the loans and Ward later transferred at least £105,000 of the funds to his own account for personal use.

The Covid Bounce Back Loan Scheme was introduced at the start of the pandemic in 2020, helping small and medium-sized businesses borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 at a low interest rate, guaranteed by the government. Firms were entitled to a single loan of up to 25% of their turnover under the scheme.

dan beale
Dan Beale

Dean Beale, chief executive at the Insolvency Service, says tackling Bounce Back Loan misconduct is a key priority.

“We are determined to use all our available powers to remove rogue company directors from the corporate arena,” he adds.

“It is important the Insolvency Service is taking such robust action to clamp down on directors who abused Covid support schemes and took from the public purse during the worst global pandemic for 100 years.”

The service secured 459 director disqualifications for Covid support scheme abuse in 2022-23, and 140 in 2021-22, the first year after the Bounce Back Loan Scheme closed to new applicants.

Read more about fraudulent Covid loan applications within the property sector.

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