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Judge shocked that fraudster got a job as a mortgage adviser

A judge has slammed a North east mortgage company for failing to carry out checks before taking on a financial adviser who had served three prison sentences for stealing.

Stephen Curran, 40, emp-loyed by Independent Mortgage Services of Gateshead, was jailed for three-and-a-half years by Newcastle Crown Court after admitting stealing £60,000 from clients.

The court heard that Curran, who had already been jailed three times for stealing from pre- vious employers was initially taken on to sell mortgages but began to persuade clients to hand over cash for bogus investment schemes.

So far, detectives have iden- tified five people who have been tricked out of cash, including one who lost her inheritance and one who was suffering from cancer.

It was said that Curran, of Nelson Square, Stockton, had used the cash to pay off gambling debts. For a period after his arrest, Curran was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

But jailing Curran, Judge Michael Cartlidge expressed his surprise that he had ever been appointed by the firm.

He said: “It is incredible that he got a job as a mortgage adviser. I cannot imagine what possible research was conducted by this organisation. I cannot possibly impose a non-custodial sentence here.”

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