Mortgage fraud is essentially the dishonest manipulation of the mortgage process with a view to making a financial gain.
By its very nature it involves property transactions and in its simplest form mortgage fraud can be committed by an individual who applies for a mortgage making a false statement on the application to the lender in order to encourage the lender to advance the mortgage. This could be false details about their own income or about the value of the property. The offence could also be committed by failing to declare information that is required such as failing to declare previous criminal convictions, particularly for offences of dishonesty.
In larger scale cases, often committed by organised crime groups, the fraud can become increasingly sophisticated. It can concern numerous properties, both residential and commercial and involve the false and artificial inflation of a property’s value in order to secure a much higher advance than the property is really worth. In cases of commercial property this can involve a variety of false documentation including false commercial leases drawn up to create the impression that the property is more valuable than it is.
In most property transactions involving a mortgage a variety of professionals are required including solicitors, mortgage brokers, estate agents and surveyors. Transactions can also involve accountants and other financial advisers being required to provide information and assistance.
One or more of these individuals can be accused of mortgage fraud even if they have unwittingly become involved in a scheme which they did not believe was dishonest.
In the event of an investigation or accusation it is important that expert legal advice is engaged at the earliest opportunity.
Taking advice early could mean the difference between facing court proceedings or avoiding them entirely. The penalties for mortgage fraud are severe and can involve the imposition of prison sentences even in the least serious cases.
Operating nationwide from our bases in the City of London and central Manchester Cunninghams are leaders in defending those accused of serious fraud and complex crime and are consistently ranked as a leading practice in these fields in all guides to the UK legal profession. Specialising in this work for over 30 years has resulted in an enviable network of experts, forensic accountants, QC’s and senior barristers to draw upon as we tailor our clients bespoke defence team
All our serious casework is led by a director with who you will have direct contact. If you are being investigated or have been charged with mortgage fraud it is important not to delay. Contact us and you will receive immediate expert advice from an experienced fraud defence lawyer.