Bookkeeper in mortgage scam jailed

PUBLISHED: 09:26 23 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:36 03 July 2010

A NORFOLK bookkeeper who provided false details to mortgage brokers so homebuyers could obtain fraudulent mortgages to the tune of £3m was last night starting a 27-month jail sentence.

A NORFOLK bookkeeper who provided false details to mortgage brokers so homebuyers could obtain fraudulent mortgages to the tune of £3m was last night starting a 27-month jail sentence.

Michael Watson provided items such as false wage slips, trading accounts and letters to back up the fraudulent mortgage claims which were made mainly around London but included some made in the Yarmouth area, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Guy Ayers, prosecuting, said that despite the false details being provided only in two cases did the buyers fall behind on their mortgage payments, with one couple falling £37,000 in arrears.

Watson, 59, only charged a small fee for providing the false paperwork and overall made just £3,000 out of his involvement in the scam.

Watson of Bath Hill, Yarmouth admitted 26 offences of obtaining money transfers by deception.

Also in the dock was mortgage broker Narendra Patel 65, of Ballards Lane, London who admitted 12 counts of furnishing false information and obtaining money transfers by deception. He was jailed for 18 months.

Mr Ayers said that Patel had worked for Direct Mortgages Associates and he had used Watson to provide false details on earnings so the applicants could obtain mortgages they required.

He said that Watson had traded as an accountant in Yarmouth, but did not have the necessary formal qualifications.

When interviewed Watson was “very forthcoming” and admitted his role in providing false documentation. As well as providing bogus wage slips, in other cases he purported to be the accountant for self-certification applicants and also provided false trading accounts.

Jailing him, Judge Simon Barham told Watson and Patel: “Offences such as these mortgage frauds are serious and prevalent.”

Robin Barclay for Watson said: “He fully accepts he played an important role. But for his actions the money in question would not have been lent by the lenders.”

He said the brokers had contacted him and he said this work was about 5pc of his business, the rest of which was legitimate. “He committed grave errors of judgment.”

Dee Connolly, for Patel, said that he was in poor health and was extremely ashamed of his actions.

She said that he had generated just over £1m of the fraudulent loans and had only got a small amount of commission out of it. “He has learned his lesson.”

Also in the dock were: Lisa Coxon, 35, of Etchingham Park Road, London, who admitted obtaining money by deception and was jailed for two months suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 120 hours' unpaid work. She had through her father Patel and Watson made a mortgage application for £288,000 in which details of her earnings were falsified. She also made a second application for £212,500 but this was never gone through with.

Velin Markov, 27, of Kenton Road, Harrow, also with the help of Watson, had provided false details claiming he had been given leave to remain in Britain when in fact it had not yet been granted.

He was jailed for four months suspended for 12 months and made to do 80 hours' unpaid work.

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