Given the current nature of the UK property market, and the amount of money that many professionals are making from the buying and selling of properties, it is fair to say that many people think that there are a number of crooks operating in this line of work. This of course is an overreaction and while many people feel that estate agents are making far too much money for the work that they do, the vast, vast majority of professionals that operate in the property market are not doing anything that is illegal.
A lot of people may point out that they think it is immoral, but there is certainly a big difference between legality and morality, which comes as a great relief to many professionals.
However, there are plenty of ways in which fraudulent activity can be carried out within the UK property market, with mortgage fraud being a major criminal activity. In recent times, some mortgage frauds have been undertaken on an immense scale, causing millions upon millions of fraud to have taken place.
Some people may shrug their shoulders because the most apparent victims are the banks and financial institutions that lend the money out to the fraudsters but of course, there will always come a time when ordinary people end up footing the bill.
Whether it is people being unfortunate enough to be in position when the fraudulent activity collapses and deals go astray, or just in general with financial institutions recouping money by charging the rest of us more money, there is nothing funny about mortgage fraud, and it is certainly not a victimless crime.
A gang of mortgage fraudsters who took part in criminal activity amounting to more than £5m have recently been jailed for their actions. The case, heard at Swansea Crown Court focused on how Ben Pickering, Mark Cainen, Paul John and Emma Davey all obtained mortgages through using a number of fake identities. All of the four were convicted of the conspiracy to defraud with the lengthiest sentence going to Cainen who was sentenced to 8 years in jail.
Pickering received a sentence of 6 years while John received a sentence of 3 years and 4 months. Davey was provided with a 12 months sentence, which has been suspended for a period of two years, and she has also been ordered to carry out 200 hours of work without pay.
Pickering was working as a film producer and was previously in the running to be a Conservative candidate in Swansea West and he teamed up with Cainen in the act of making fraudulent applications using false and names and financial documents that had been forged. The fact that the two men went to the trouble to change their names by deed poll indicates the length and scope of the swindle, which saw a considerable number of properties being snapped up across an 8 year period.
Paul John was employed as a financial advisor, based in Swansea, and he abused this position of power to process applications with assistance from Davey, who was working as an estate agent. The fact that these frauds were assisted by professionals working in the area helped to facilitate the crime and it further emphasises the temptations that many professionals will see in their daily work.
While it may not seem as though there is much at stake or at risk when helping crimes like to be undertaken, professionals place their entire life at risk, and they could also endanger the livelihood of their current colleagues.
In his findings, the judge stated that he believed the offences were carried out through our greed as opposed to any of the individuals actually needing the money. Not that this would make the crime any more palatable, but the fact that people are willing to place themselves at such a high level of risk for greed alone is something that many people will struggle to come to terms with.
The very nature of mortgage fraud means that it is a criminal activity which is layered and complex. This means that it needs specialist people examining it, on both the prosecution and defence side. Mortgage fraud defence solicitors provide a specialist level of service that is absolutely essential for anyone facing charges of this nature, which is clearly something that is apparent to people undertaking mortgage fraud.
Even with assistance from professionals in the industry, mortgage fraud is an intricate and complex crime, which means that it needs serious planning and consideration to pull together, but it also needs to specialist attention to pull apart.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 8 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.