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Gang jailed for £8m mortgage fraud

A group of fraudsters who formed part of a criminal gang that used a firm of solicitors to con high street banks out of almost £8m have been jailed at Southwark Crown Court today.

Judge Bellows today handed prison sentences of five years to Khawar Khan (pictured), four years each to Imran and Nadeem Mirza and two years to Farhan Khan.

All had pleaded guilty to numerous fraud-related offences in December 2009.

The court had previously heard how the criminal gang identified properties across the South-East to use for false mortgage applications without ever approaching the owners.

At the same time Essex-based Montague Mason Solicitors submitted false paperwork in connection with 33 fraudulent mortgage applications.

Once the deals were signed-off and the funds transferred, the fraudsters quickly dispersed the stolen money from the solicitor’s accounts into a network of many hundreds of false bank accounts, controlled by the gang.

However, it was these details that would lead the City of London Police to the defendants and the home of Imran Mirza, 31 and Nadeem Mirza, 26, in Ilford, Essex.

The investigation began in March 2009 after Abbey and HBOS asked the City of London Police to look into the activities of Montague Mason Solicitors.

Working in collaboration with the two banks, investigators uncovered an extensive criminal network that led them to executing search warrants at addresses across the UK in June 2009.

When officers attempted to gain access to his house, Imran Mirza threw a bag of credit cards out of a bedroom window. He was arrested along with his brother Nadeem, and £67,000 was found in the house.

During the search Farhan Khan arrived and, when found in possession of false credit cards was arrested. A search of his house found false ID document directly linked to the mortgage fraud.

A warrant executed at an office in Nottingham led to the seizure of gold ingots and business records, including spreadsheets detailing the hundreds of fraudulently opened bank accounts.

Khawar Khan was identified as the owner of the office and a key player in this fraud and was traced by investigators to a house in Barking where he was arrested and false credit cards, chequebooks, UK and Pakistani passports and driving licenses taken from the house.

City of London Police head of the economic crime directorat detective chief superintendent Steve Head says: “The case highlights how organised criminal gangs are targeting mortgage fraud, viewing it as a means to make easy money.   

“Mortgage fraud is causing real damage to the UK economy and as the National Lead Force for fraud we are proactively going after the people who orchestrate and commit this crime.

“In the past two years we have taken on 18 new major investigations and are working very closely with the banks to ensure people can have faith in the integrity of the mortgage systems.”

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Comments

There are 12 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Julian Stevens 1st March 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Oh well, if the City of London Police are working closely with the banks, then we’ve nothing to worry about ~ have we?

  2. Looking at the names involved, should we really be surprised…?

  3. Victor Meldrew 1st March 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Now that the government have got the prisons under control they will have room for these guys. Could they not just be deported or sent to the front lines to help our troops, rather than costing us hundreds of thousands while detained in HMP?.

  4. What about the 100,000 plus FOS complaints and the ability to make awards up to £100K with scant regard to fraudulent claims or the rules of evidence? Consider how few claims are rejected as frivolous and vexatious (fraudulent) claims. In short FOS facilitates fraud! This is institutional fraud facilitated by the regulator.

    Every IFA breaches Money Laundering Rules by failing to report the FOS and claimants where they “suspect” fraud but fail to report it.

    Look up a definition of fraud and then read your Money Laundering Rules. These say you merely need to “suspect” fraud! Go on Mr & Mrs IFA take a long hard look at your Money Laundering Rules and you will find your are obliged to report FOS for facilitating fraud! I didn’t invent these rules and nor did you but daft as they are you are obliged to do this in order to stop institutional fraud!

  5. Congratulations City of London Police, it appears a good result depending on how much was recovered for the Banks and how much of the investigation cost came from the public purse.

    The obvious saving ofcourse was the total absence of any mention of the FSA or photo’s of the enforcement executive.

    But is such crime encourage by the anti racism culture, for it appears far too often that members of a minority group are involved.

  6. Giving the criminals 4 years maximum is derisory. Please let the punishment fit the crime. Unless the criminals are forced to repay ALL of the money they took AND the total cost of the investigation then you and me are paying for this and we get tarred with the same brush by the public. We also pay in our PI. Regardless of colour, creed or country of origin they should stay in prison and work in prison until the total costs including their prison costs has been recouped. I would pass their unpaid debts on to their heirs. I for one have had enough of carrying others in a society that is subject to this abuse.

  7. I agree with Steve. But I’d say whether the authorites are able to recover the loot or not, 4 years is not much of a deterrent for such criminals. And the key player in this fraud gets only 5 years!
    4 years – they’ll be out in 2.

    FT Adviser writes a headline, “Criminal gang sentenced to 15 years in prison”. Are they really?

  8. I agree with Steve. But I’d say whether the authorites are able to recover the loot or not, 4 years is not much of a deterrent for such criminals. And the key player in this fraud gets only 5 years!
    4 years – they’ll be out in 2.

    FT Adviser writes a headline, “Criminal gang sentenced to 15 years in prison”. Are they really?

  9. Last week we had an IFA, who got 6months for stealing £32,000, lost her job, entegrity and any hope of being employed in the industry again.
    Here we have a gang who stole £8mil and received very lenient sentences. Where is the justice in the system.
    Hopfully their assets will be taken from them and deportation orders served on them and any other criminal from any country if possible, Exactly the same as Australia would do

  10. No wonder the criminals of the world are attracted to this country. Our rediculously lenient criminal system, designed in the years when we had a law abiding society is acting like a Lymph gland sucking all the poisonous people from around the globe. They must think they have landed heaven.

  11. whats this only 4 year i think its better way then to earn millions .struggel once n then relax in jail for 4 year n then came out and do fun with million pounds

  12. I bet those criminals are now regretting their actions highly…If gangs like this continue to be caught and punished at very early stages they’ll think twice before they ever get themselves into a mess again..

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