By Farhana Haque - Halifax Courier 27 January 2010
A LEADING fraud solicitor is warning that the true scale of property and mortgage fraud is yet to be known.
Aziz Rahman, principal of Rahman Ravelli Solicitors in Halifax, believes that the full extent of this type of fraud is neither fully understood or appreciated.
And he thinks many more people may find themselves under investigation in 2010.
Mortgage and property fraud is a wide net that may involve some or all of:
- Obtaining a mortgage by deception, involving production of false documents such as passports, bank statements and any other form of proof of identity or residence.
- Obtaining property with proceeds of crime.
- Intentionally misleading the Land Registry as well as lenders.
As a specialist in business crime and serious fraud, Mr Rahman said the property boom had led to fraudulent and blatantly non-compliant practices across the property market.
In the last three years, his firm has seen an increase in mortgage and property fraud cases involving solicitors, licensed conveyancers, mortgage lenders, developers and home buyers in the last three years.
And as a result of rules on compliance tightening because of the financial crisis, Mr Rahman expected investigations would uncover more serious fraud and other criminal activity in the property market.
"Now that the boom is over and people are taking a closer look at what has happened, more and more cases of fraud are coming to light.
"And the longer this period of analysis and inspection continues then the more incidents we are going to become aware of."