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‘Prolific’ female mortgage fraudster jailed for nine years

A woman who has been dubbed one of “the most prolific female fraudsters the UK has ever seen” by police has been jailed for nine years after conning banks out of £13m.

Maria Michaela, 33, who was found by City of London Police working in a mortgage brokerage in Blackheath under the name Mia Kul, was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on 9 November having admitted to using a false identity to acquire eight fraudulent loans.

A City of London Police investigation revealed how Michaela presented herself to lenders as Joanne Pier, the heiress to a South African business fortune whose grandfather had founded the leisure complex Sun City.

Between April 2007 and April 2008, she persuaded HBOS to give her four separate loans worth £10.5m to buy eight properties in the London area.

To support Michaela’s application, the bank was given false valuations by a property surveyor, called Mary-Jayne Rathie. Rathie used non-existent corporate tenancy agreements to double the market price for five of the properties, in exchange for more than £1m in money and gifts, including a Bentley and a Range Rover.

Around the same time, Michaela approached Royal Bank of Scotland, again as Pier, asking to refinance assets from her family trust and into her name, citing problems with her father. The bank agreed to make a series of loans worth £2.5m.

As with HBOS, the loans defaulted and much of the money was lost.

Michaela then changed her name to Zoe Fletcher and approached RBS for a second time through a contact of Rathie in an attempt to fraudulently refinance the properties.

At the first meeting she was introduced to an employee she had met during her first batch of loans, who identified her as Joanne Pier and referred it to the bank’s internal investigation team who reported it to the City of London police. However, by this time Michaela had gone missing.

Michaela was eventually found in January this year when investigating officers tracked her down to a mortgage brokers in Blackheath, working there as Mia Kul. She was then arrested.

Maria Michaela was sentenced after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation.

In June 2011, Mary-Jane Rathie was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of five counts of fraud and one count of money laundering.

Detective Inspector Andy Fyfe says: “Maria Michaela created a web of deception that duped banks into handing over vast sums of money, and then perpetuated her crimes by assuming a new alias to try and secure more loans.

“False identities and a corrupt property surveyor were the tools she used to make millions, turning herself into one of the, if not the, most prolific female fraudster the UK has ever seen.”



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There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Leonard Kuhnesberg 12th November 2012 at 2:15 pm

    So it looks like one crook has conned another crook, the banks but the smaller crook gets locked up. Where’s the justice in that?

    We should follow Icelands lead and arrest all the corrupt bankers and jail them. Iceland is is already now one of the fastest growing economies in the world because it’s managed to free itself from the stranglehold of the zionist banking cartels. However you won’t read about it in the mainstream media because guess what,the same zionist criminals have a monopoly on the controlled media.

  2. A timely reminder about Anti-Money Laundering rules for banks (like HSBC). How on earth did they not verify ID and residence properly? who should have been higher on the radar as a HNW, sophisticated investor. This story (if accurate) shows a very poor regard for AML rules… but hey what’s a few million between muppets? One assumes that if she worked as a mortgage broker that despite the millions, she still needed to work to feed her spending habits? Sounds like a script for a film…

  3. When does the book come out, Cant wait!!

  4. To all you ladies complaing about ‘glass ceilings’ and lack of opportunity for women – take heart – this lady is up there with the best (or worst) of them!

  5. Wonder if she said Mia Kul Pa , i’ll get my coat !

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