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Higher unemployment behind the drop in mortgage fraud last year

A drop in mortgage fraud in 2011 has been attributed to rising unemployment as many would-be fraudsters are finding themselves unemployed and unable to lie about their income.

The latest figures from fraud prevention service CIFAS last week showed there were 3,153 cases of reported mortgage fraud in 2011, down from 3,542 in 2010 – mainly due to a reduction in application fraud.

The report says a lack of employment and concerns about future prospects may have been putting off fraudsters who would have committed application fraud to obtain a larger mortgage than they could afford but would have taken it out with every intention of repaying.

However its figures show a near-doubling of the number of cases where false employment details were provided – up to 512 cases from 283 the year before.

Historically, mortgage application frauds have always seen a high level of falsification of documents – most commonly of payslipsto make it seem that the applicant earns more than is actually the case.

CIFAS says now it seems that more applicants are having to lie about earning anything at all.

Nick Mothershaw, director of identity and fraud services at Experian UK, says the CIFAS findings tally with its own.

He says: “More than 90% of mortgage fraud tends to originate from individuals misrepresenting their financial situations in an attempt to buy property that would ordinarily be out of reach.”

Meanwhile, the Slough Express has reported that mortgage broker Tahir Malik has admitted obtaining services from Mortgage Next Network by deception in 2004 by concealing his convictions and bankruptcy, and giving a false former employer.

On top of this, he pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud, one relating to a mortgage on his former home in West Wycombe in 2007 and the other to an attempted purchase of a property in Windmill Road, Slough, in 2008.

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