Brit in custody over fake mortgage scam in Spain

A British man was taken into police custody last week after allegedly scamming fellow Brits with fake mortgages on the Costa del Sol.

The mortgage fraud operated over 18 months from Dominion Beach in Estepona and was headed by John Michael Doust.

The scam is believed to have netted tens of thousands of euros each month from members of the public who found the company, TMGiberia.com, either through the internet or a network of duped estate agents and introducers across Spain.

The business also used the name The Mortgage Group SA which is a company registered in Dominica and not a Spanish SA company.

TMGiberia.com offered slightly better mortgage terms than genuine lenders and would take on virtually any case, however hopeless in conventional terms.

Prospective borrowers were persuaded to sign a mortgage agreement with the company that in-cluded a vital clause making a 1% or 2% fee payable on receipt of a satisfactory mortgage offer.

The borrower would first pay an inflated valuation fee to TMGiberia com and, on receipt of the valuation, a mortgage offer would be typed and printed out and presented to the borrower. The borrower was then asked to stump up the fee under the terms of the agreement, which could be as much as €14,000.

But the mortgage was never provided and the offer was not worth the paper it was written on.

Gwilym Rhys-Jones, an adviser and investigator and member of the Costa del Sol Action Group, is helping the Mૡga Provincial Fraud Squad with its investigation into Doust.

Rhys-Jones says: “Over 100 victims seem to have been defrauded by Doust and his associates. They all paid the 1% application fee but never got their mortgages.

“Doust’s alleged modus operandi in this scam was to offer attractive terms for mortgages and equity release schemes for which applicants were charged advance fees and excessive valuation fees. In reality, no mortgage funds were available.”