Mortgage fraud often involves property investors, surveyors, mortgage brokers, financial advisors, accountants and solicitors. As a result those accused are often devastated by the investigation due to the fact it has the potential to ruin reputations for life even if ultimately acquitted. We understand that here at Stephensons and our solicitors aim is to ensure that your rights are preserved from the outset and that you are in fact presumed innocent until proven guilty. Many of you will have lost sight of that due to the way you have already been treated by the authorities.
Mortgage fraud has always existed, but in the last couple of years, there has been an increase in the number of these cases. Following the collapse of the housing market many lenders who have had to repossess properties have cracked down on mortgage fraud to curtail their losses. In particular the Financial Services Authority (FSA), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the City of London police have increased dramatically the volume of investigations into mortgage fraud.
There are varying types of mortgage fraud defined according to their motivation but all involve misleading the lender about an aspect of the obtaining the property mortgage loan in order to obtain it. The common factor is intent to materially misrepresent or omit information on a loan application in order to obtain the loan or obtain a larger loan. Proceedings regarding mortgage fraud tend to not be limited to the borrower; they can involve all the people and professionals involved in obtaining the mortgage. These include surveyors, mortgage brokers, financial advisors, accountants, estate agents and solicitors. These professionals often face questions regarding what due diligence they could have reasonably been expected to have conducted. There is often a very complex trail of evidence to go through and many vitally important documents are missed by the investigating officers that can materially affect the outcome of a case. This is often of pivotal importance when representing those charged with mortgage fraud and needs an understanding of the documentation involved. We are skilled at defending professionals and early intervention is critical.
At Stephensons we have a specialist team of solicitors fully conversant with the complex financial transactions that are often involved in mortgage fraud. The need to trace the money through various accounts is a skill essential for this type of defence. The paper trail can often lead to considering complex transactions involving money going into international jurisdictions and into offshore accounts. Knowledge of these areas is vital. Often there are charges of money laundering coupled with the fraud itself and it essential that individuals are properly advised by experts in that area.
Individual home purchasers are more commonly accused of small scale of single domestic fraud or domestic fraud involving a limited number of properties. This is normally as a result of providing false information to obtain a mortgage. About 5 years ago self certification mortgages were extremely popular and unregulated often leading people to provide inaccurate information regarding their employment status, income, debts they owed etc. This results in mortgage fraud. Professionals who knew or should have known in their professional experience that the transaction was fraudulent can also be under suspicion of participating in the mortgage fraud. It is not limited to self certified mortgages and has occurred with other types of mortgage lending. We have the expertise to deal with all cases of mortgage fraud no matter how large or small.
Our team specialises in cases a involving mortgage fraud on a large scale. This will often involve a charge of conspiracy to defraud being brought against several parties Investigations of this nature are extremely serious and must be defended vigorously. There is a need to assess and identify potentially relevant evidence.
A specialist fraud solicitor should be consulted because even single mortgage fraud is handled under criminal proceedings even if the individual or individuals have never had criminal proceedings bought against them in the past.
Early intervention is crucial so we can start to defend you right from interview stage, call our expert mortgage fraud team to see how we can help: 0845 00 20736 or complete our online enquiry form.