Two men have been jailed for a total of 20 years at Southwark Crown Court after admitting their role in a £50m mortgage fraud.
Saghir Ahmed Afzal was sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to obtain money transfers by deception and four counts of obtaining money transfers by deception.
Ian McGarry, a chartered surveyor was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to obtain money by deception and four counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception.
Afzal and his brother Nisar offered bribes to McGarry totalling over £1m to produce false valuations based on fictitious leases which were used to support fraudulent mortgage applications on six commercial properties.
Using McGarry’s false valuations, the Afzals were able to loan a total of £49.287,000 when the genuine total of the properties was only £5,688,125.
The Cheshire Building Society, the Bank of Ireland and the Nationwide Building Society had all been defrauded.
After making one or two early mortgage repayments, the Afzals disappeared with the money.
HHJ Beddoe described how Afzal was the head of a team that operated a “massively and carefully orchestrated confidence trick” over two years that duped banks and building societies of almost £50m, very little of which has been recovered.
It was added that the severity of Saghir Afzal’s sentence included the fact that he benefited personally from the fraud and sent £26m to Pakistan, where it remains under his control or that of his brother.
Afzal and McGarry were charged in 2009 along with six others. Four have been acquitted by the jury with the jury unable to reach a verdict on the remaining two.
McGarry’s solicitor, Anil Rajani of IBB Solicitors said: “We will be lodging an appeal against this manifestly excessive sentence. A large body of evidence was presented to the court from character witnesses, many of whom were professionals who spoke of the utter devastation of Mr McGarry’s personal and professional life.”