Barletta restaurant launches £50,000 crowdfund after being hit by fraudsters

16 November 2022 by
Barletta restaurant launches £50,000 crowdfund after being hit by fraudsters

A crowdfund has been launched after the Barletta restaurant in Margate was struck by a "horrendous" scam which stole £50,000 from its bank accounts.

Natalia Ribbe (pictured above right), one of the owners of Barletta, which is located in the Turner Contemporary art gallery, noticed suspicious activity in her business accounts several weeks ago.

Despite asking for some form of compensation, Ribbe said she was told that none of the money would be returned as her bank was not signed up to the voluntary Contingent Reimbursement Model code designed to protect victims of scams.

Since the crowdfund was launched two days ago by Lauren Barnett, a friend of Ribbe, it has raised over £3,700.

Ribbe told The Caterer: "What I've found since I've been sharing my story on fraud is that actually I'm not alone; there are a lot of people this has happened to."

It comes at a time when the business is already stretched due to the cost of living crisis, soaring energy bills and record-breaking inflation rates.

Ribbe herself had attended the HospoDemo protest on Monday, urging the government to acknowledge and support the value of the industry.

She said: "I cannot lose £50,000. We're a small business, that's absolutely horrendously impactful especially in a cost of living crisis where I need to make sure my team can stay in their jobs. That £50,000 pounds is not my money: that's VAT, that's rent, that's wages. It's already been spent and allocated for."

She added that the restaurant team were "doing every single thing in our power to make sure that bankruptcy and closure is not what happens", but that the campaign "feels like the only option" to save the business from the "worst case scenario".

Ribbe said: "We need all the help and support that we can get and if people can't give money, which we totally understand at this time, if they can just share what's happening with us or connect someone who has gone through something similar that's had a more positive outcome, or know anyone who works in the financial sector who can help us get to the banks…it doesn't have to be money."

The page for the fundraiser reads: "The deadline to save the business is nigh, so please share far and wide and save this very special family business from closure."

Click here to find out more about the campaign.

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