Mortgage fraud is a serious crime that is not uncommon in the UK, and can have very serious consequences for perpetrators. If you have been accused of mortgage fraud, you need a team of defence solicitors in Glasgow who fully understand the consequences, and the relevant law in order to build a strong defence. Our specialist mortgage fraud team will assist you in gathering evidence to support your case, and fully advise in your best interests. To discuss your mortgage fraud case with solicitors you can trust, contact our specialist team today. If you have been accused of another form of fraud, our team of fraud lawyers can also advise you.
What Constitutes Mortgage Fraud?
Mortgage fraud is the term used to describe a crime in which the intent is to misrepresent or omit information on a mortgage loan application in order to obtain a loan that could not have been obtained had the private lender or financial institution known the truth.
The definition of fraud is established in the Fraud Act 2006 and covers fraud by false representation (implicit or explicit) and by failure to disclose information where there is a legal duty to disclose. The value of a mortgage obtained through fraud is the proceeds of crime (to pursue legal action). Fraud consists of intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain by a person or entity for personal or economic gain and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 states that money laundering takes place when individuals or criminal groups (hereinafter, fraudsters) acquire, use, have possession or transfer the criminal property.
In the UK, mortgage fraud generally takes the form of one of the following :
- Over-valuing properties. In such cases, the value of the property is inflated and a maximum loan-to-value will be taken out for the full-inflated valuation.
- Overstating a salary or income. This occurs when a borrower overstates his/her income to qualify for a mortgage or for a larger loan amount.
- Taking out mortgages in the name of unsuspecting individuals or those who are deceased after identity theft. This occurs when a person assumes the identity of another and uses that identity to obtain a mortgage without the knowledge or consent of the victim. In these schemes, the thieves disappear without making payments on the mortgage.
- Hijacking genuine conveyancing processes. A common example could be when half-way through the buying process, the lender is contacted by a new solicitor, who has all the details of the transaction, saying he/she is taking over the conveyancing process. Conveyancer ‘take-over’ or hijacking fraud is common.
- Changing title deeds without an owner’s knowledge to allow the sale of a property.
Mortgage fraud is increasingly being tackled by authorities. Back in 2015, at least five lawyers were disciplined by the Law Society of Scotland over deals that could mask mortgage fraud. Among these lawyers, Michelle Thomson (former Edinburgh West MP) was suspended from the SNP after police investigations launched a probe into her property dealings. Her property firms were accused of preying on vulnerable people by buying homes at knockdown prices from families struggling to pay their mortgage. Also during the first quarter of 2016, the UK fraud prevention system National Hunter stated that a good proportion of crimes attempted by fraudsters increased to 6% often by using identities of recently deceased people. These are just examples of recent prosecutions and investigations of mortgage fraud, and if you have been accused of mortgage fraud you need a team of specialist fraud defence solicitors in Scotland to help fight your case.
Mortgage fraud is a crime where the intention is to misrepresent or omit information on a mortgage loan application so as to obtain a loan that might not have been granted had the lender known the true position.
Types of Mortgage Fraud
Examples of mortgage fraud include the following:
Employment fraud: A person represents themselves as employed in a non-existent business or presents false accounts for a business they say they own.
Valuation fraud: The value of the property is over-stated so that a larger loan may be granted.
Income fraud: This is where a person overstates their income including self-certification by self-employed individuals.
Identity fraud: This occurs when a person assumes the identity of another, possibly deceased, person, in order to obtain a mortgage and then makes no payments before disappearing.
Conveyancing process fraud: During the buying process the lender is contacted by a fraudster pretending to be a solicitor to say they are taking over, or the buyer is persuaded to transfer funds to the account of the fraudster rather than the genuine solicitor.
Ownership fraud: Title deeds are changed without the owner’s knowledge to falsify the sale of a property.
Who might be accused of Mortgage Fraud?
Generally, mortgage fraud accusations are made against the following types of person:
Individual home purchasers: Small-scale fraud can occur where false information has been provided in order to obtain a mortgage. This may include giving false information about employment status, expenditure, debts or income.
Criminal enterprises: Organised criminals may gain mortgages over vacant properties due to repossession or where the owner is deceased. Criminally gained funds might be used to fund deposits.
Professionals: This occurs where a professional knew or ought to have known that a mortgage transaction was fraudulent. There may be criminal collusion between a solicitor, a property valuer and possibly a mortgage broker to falsify aspects of a transaction. Even where a professional did not carry out the transaction personally but participated in the mortgage fraud in some way they may still stand accused of committing the crime.
At Keith J Tuck we regularly assist in defending mortgage fraud accusations helping the accused person or persons to fully understand their position and gathering evidence to support their defence.
With professionals, cases can be particularly complex but our fraud solicitors can assist no matter how big or small the mortgage fraud involved. Our experience and expertise means that the best advice and representation will be available to the accused.
Expert Mortgage Fraud Defence Lawyers Glasgow, Scotland
Here at Keith J Tuck Solicitors we fully understand the complexities involved in mortgage fraud defence in Scotland. As mortgage fraud can include a variety of parties, complex financial transactions and tracing money through various accounts and businesses there is a specialist skill in defending this type of fraud. Knowledge of these intricacies is vital to ensure you are adequately represented. A mortgage fraud conviction can have devastating effects for your reputation and your finances, so you want to be sure your case is in the best hands.
Generally, mortgage fraud accusations are made against two types of person; individual home purchasers and professionals. In the case of individual home purchasers, small-scale fraud can occur where false information has been provided in order to obtain a mortgage. This may include giving false information about employment status, debts and income. We regularly assist individuals in defending mortgage fraud accusations, helping them fully understand their position, and gathering evidence to support their defence.
Furthermore, we also provide expert advice and assistance to professionals accused of mortgage fraud. Professional mortgage fraud occurs where a professional knew or ought to have known given their professional experience that a mortgage transaction was fraudulent. Such cases can be complex, and even where you did not carry out the transaction personally, but participated in the mortgage fraud in some way you may stand accused of committing the crime. Our fraud solicitors can assist you no matter how big or small the mortgage fraud case you are involved in is. Our experience and expertise means that you can feel comfortable that you are getting the best advice and representation in your case. Contact our specialist mortgage fraud defence lawyers today to find out how we can help.
Contact Our Mortgage Fraud Solicitors in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Scotland
We have particular experience defending serious and complex cases, including the longest – and perhaps the most complex – indictment trial ever at Sheriff Court level related to fraud/people trafficking. Keith J Tuck successfully defended the principal accused. He also defended the principal accused in the longest trial ever in British legal history – a complex fraud case at the High Court. He has an unrivalled commitment to defending individuals who face crisis.
If you have been accused of mortgage fraud, and require expert advice, support and assistance, contact our experienced team today. Our highly skilled fraud solicitors in Glasgow, Scotland will handle your case carefully and will strive to achieve the best possible outcome. Being accused of mortgage fraud can be stressful and confusing, thus our criminal defence lawyers and fraud experts can investigate what has happened and help protect you and your home. Keith Tuck Solicitors have a high level of expertise and are accustomed to dealing with complex cases and handling large amounts of evidence. Contact us today.