Mortgage fraud is serious business and the authorities have been stepping up their crackdown in recent years on those suspected of involvement in mortgage fraud. If you have been involved in mortgage fraud, or are under investigation, contact the specialist lawyers at Qamar Solicitors who are highly experienced in advising clients facing fraud investigations.
Mortgage fraud can be relatively low-scale, involving an individual misrepresenting the facts or overinflating income to secure a mortgage he or she would not otherwise have been able to obtain. On the other end of the scale, mortgage fraud can involve multiple parties and properties, and vast sums of money.
A mortgage fraud conviction can be very serious for your reputation and professional career. Mortgage fraud can involve a variety of professionals including property investors, surveyors, mortgage brokers, financial advisors, accountants and lawyers. We strive to protect our clients’ professional reputation as far as possible, working to protect your interests as early as we can in an investigation.
Investigations are carried out mainly by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the City of London police who have increased the number of fraud investigations on the back of the global banking crisis and the recent recession.
What is mortgage fraud?
Mortgage fraud involves misleading a mortgage lender about a material aspect of a property transaction for the purposes of obtaining a mortgage on the property. The offence requires an intent to materially misrepresent or omit information on a loan application in order to obtain the loan (or a larger loan). All professionals involved in the process and or transaction of applying for and securing a mortgage are at risk of investigation and criminal charges.
It also covers involvement in the transfer of that money by any professionals or other individuals where they are aware of the deception. This means mortgage fraud cases are frequently very complex involving many individuals and companies, and a huge amount of documentary and digital evidence. Our specialist fraud defence solicitors are highly experienced both in complex financial transactions and in dealing with complex fraud cases. We are adept at defending our clients and finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Where the alleged offender is a professional person, or otherwise in a position of trust, this will likely be held against him or her by the prosecution on the basis that he or she must have known or ought to have known the application/transaction was fraudulent. It requires an element of dishonesty which the prosecution must establish.
Furthermore, if the defendant is a solicitor or another professional there are specific ‘triggers’ which ought to make them aware that a transaction may be bogus, or contain a dishonest element. These triggers include:
Multiple recent remortgages/property sales on a property
A large but unexplained increase in purchase price
Payment of the deposit direct to the seller or deposit paid by a third party
Whole or part of net sale proceeds to be paid to a third party
Also, there is a duty under the (The Proceeds of Crime Act) 2002 (POCA) on solicitors to report suspicious financial transactions.
Whether you have been charged in isolation, or along with family members or business associates, we take a sympathetic but aggressive approach to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. We also with other experts to help defend you, including instructing forensic accountants and auditors when appropriate so that we can protect your best interests and your professional reputation.
Mortgage fraud is extremely serious and will be treated as such by the courts with a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years. An important ruling in a major mortgage fraud case1 (involving 19 individuals, 128 mortgage applications, 90 properties and £1.8m) set out a number of issues that the court should take into account when sentencing following conviction.
Whether the offender was person in a position of trust, or a professional
Whether false names and values were used
The period over which the fraud took place
Whether properties or borrowers were invented
whether others were recruited to participate in the fraud
Character and age of offender
How can we help?
If you are being investigated or prosecuted for mortgage fraud, contact the fraud and regulatory lawyers at Qamar Solicitors immediately for urgent specialist legal advice. We can assist you early in the investigation and it is imperative you contact us as soon as possible.