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Accountancy expert evidence at heart of fifty million pound mortgage fraud trial

Member: Nifa

Southwark Crown Court has heard allegations that six solicitors conned banks and building societies into lending almost fifty million pounds on mortgages for properties worth just six million pounds, which the Prosecution say was "one of the largest mortgage frauds ever perpetrated in the UK".

Simon Lawrence, Fatema Patwa, Hardeep Sodhi, Laurence Ferrigan, Kamran Malik and Mark Knight all face charges over a scam that allegedly involved fraudulently taking out an 866% mortgage on six properties.

Andrew Baillie QC for the Crown told the jury that the solicitors had acted for various companies, which apparently sold the properties to each other to inflate the price before applying for the mortgages.

He added they also used valuation reports by chartered surveyor Ian McGarry that included false leases to up the value.

McGarry has already admitted two counts of conspiracy to defraud and four counts of obtaining money transfers by deception.

Mr Baillie said: "Between February 2005 and March 2006, a period of about 13 months, banks and building societies were persuaded to lend a total of 49,287,000 pounds on the supposed security of these six properties.

"This is not an 80% or a 90% mortgage but, taking all of these loans together, it was the equivalent of an 866% mortgage.

He went on to say that "when they realised the properties were worth only a fraction of what they thought, it was too late. The money had been distributed, a very substantial part of it sent abroad and the banks were left to whistle for their money."

He added: "it must be one of the largest mortgage frauds ever perpetrated in the UK."

Said Mr Baillie, "the question that this trial has to address is whether each of these defendants is guilty of acting fraudulently."

All six deny obtaining money transfers by deception.

The trial continues.


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