Crooked mortgage brokers sent to jail
Wednesday 4th July 2012
Five people, including three mortgage brokers, have been jailed after a £10m mortgage fraud, and two others have been given suspended sentences.
Four of the seven were members of the same family, and at the heart of what police call an ‘organised criminal enterprise’ was a book-keeper who supplied phoney accounts which she signed off with the names of bona fide and totally unaware accountants.
The paperwork, which inflated incomes, duped lenders into handing out mortgages. Some of the applications were made on behalf of the fraudsters themselves. Clients interviewed by police said they had given correct information to the brokers and had never heard of the accountant who had supposedly inflated their incomes.
The seven were sentenced when they appeared at Stafford Crown Court.
Stephen Lamb, 61, a former mortgage broker with Tamworth Mortgages, was jailed for five years. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and fraudulently obtaining a mortgage. Also jailed for five years was book-keeper Ruth Berridge, 46, who traded as Midland Business Services. She admitted conspiracy to defraud.
Michael Bullock, 49, a former broker with Cannock-based RJM Financial Services, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud.
Francis Laird QC, prosecuting, said the frauds involving Lamb, Berridge and Bullock were ‘professionally planned and fraudulent from the outset’.
Amarjit Lall, 40, a former broker with Birmingham-based Home Finance Countrywide, was jailed for two and a half years after admitting fraudulently obtaining mortgages. The court heard that he had obtained mortgages for prisoners serving time in jail.
The fraud also drew in three members of Stephen Lamb’s family, who were also sentenced.
His son Simon Lamb, 34, was sentenced to 20 months in prison after fraud. He had lied about his and his partner’s income on their application to purchase their home.
Lamb’s wife Sheila, 56, a former partner in Tamworth Finance, and their daughter Louise Clarke, 29, both admitted fraudulently obtaining £45,000 from two former family friends.
The pair were each sentenced to 15 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.
The offences came to light when a financial crime analyst noticed that accounts submitted by Tamworth Finance in mortgage applications appeared to have been prepared by an accountant whose trading name and address were the same as those given by Berridge in an application to remortgage her property.
The analyst contacted the accountant, who had no knowledge of either Berridge or Midland Business Services and had not prepared any of the accounts or accountants’ references that had been supplied by Tamworth Finance. Staffordshire Police then launched an investigation, which they called Operation Crystallite.
Inquiries uncovered further evidence of bogus accounts and accountants’ references by Stephen Lamb and Tamworth Finance, all prepared by Berridge in the names of genuine accountants without their knowledge.
The false paperwork had been used to secure mortgage advances totalling £5m, earning Tamworth Finance thousands of pounds in introducer and commission fees.
Stephen Lamb also falsified his and his wife’s income on numerous applications to remortgage their own home and to purchase buy-to-let properties, totalling a further £1.5m.
The investigation also found that Berridge had prepared bogus paperwork in mortgage applications totalling nearly £2m submitted by Bullock, and £400,000 by Lall.
The fraudsters were arrested more than three years ago, but a series of court cases which followed could not be reported for legal reasons. These restrictions have now been partially lifted.
(1) Comments | Report Abuse
DISCLAIMER:The views contained in these user comments are not endorsed by Introducer Today(nor its associates and advertisers) in any way and are provided by users who wish to publish their independent opinions on our news.Whilst every effort is made to moderate these comments,due to the instant nature of the posting not all offensive material can be removed instantly.Please help us keep the comments areas tidy by reporting details of any infringements to firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Contact Details - Rosalind Renshaw