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‘Carer was told to misstate pay’

A court spared a low-income worker from jail last week after accepting evidence that mortgage brokers had advised her to misstate her income on her homeloan application.

Sandra Ashcroft, 59, who earned just £6,000 a year, was appearing before Manchester Crown Court after she misstated her income on mortgage application forms and was lent over £120,000.

However, Ashcroft, who worked as a carer, was not given a jail sentence when evidence was given in court claiming that it was her mortgage advisers that had advised her that she could misstate her income on the application form.

The lenders involved in the mortgage and remortgage were Southern Pacific and GMAC and after the case both denied that they had acted incorrectly.

A GMAC spokesman said: “The company takes its lending responsibilities very seriously and is confident that its procedures are robust.”

Evidence was given to the court that Ashcroft had said she held senior nursing positions in hospitals with good salaries without this information being checked out.

Defending Ashcroft, barrister Mark Rhind told the court: “Very few questions are asked and the price is higher fees and higher interest rates.”

Passing sentence on Ashcroft, the court recorder Philip Cattan said: “It is a somewhat unusual case because there is evidence that you appear to have been steered towards giving misleading information.”

Ashcroft, who admitted receiving money transfers by deception, was given a sixmonth suspended prison sentence and 40 hours community service.

Both Southern Pacific and GMAC specialise in lending to customers with problem credit ratings and during the case this market was compared with the sub-prime market in the US.

An FSA spokesman says: “Mortgage brokers must not submit or assist in the submission of mortgage applications containing false information.

“We would strongly advise consumers not to submit false applications as they are committing fraud.”

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