FSA bans and fines London mortgage broker

The Financial Services Authority has fined mortgage broker Gary Lester £103,000 for knowingly submitting 42 mortgage applications to lenders containing false and misleading income information for his customers, and committing mortgage fraud to obtain a mortgage for himself.

The FSA has also banned Lester from working within the regulated financial services industry for failing to act as a fit and proper person and for lacking honesty and integrity

Trading as Lifestyle Mortgages Limited (Lifestyle), in Edgware, North West London, Lester significantly inflated his income from Lifestyle to obtain a mortgage for himself in November 2006.

During the investigation, the FSA found 42 out of 48 applications reviewed were based on fraudulent information and of those, 14 were found to have no supporting tax records at all.

Two other Lifestyle mortgage advisers, Julie Hutcheson and Martin Winer, have also been banned from working in financial services for not appropriately scrutinising and challenging the information provided by customers on their mortgage application forms.

Margaret Cole, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, says: “The financial penalty reflects how Lester failed to meet the high standards expected by the FSA and this prohibition will make the mortgage market a safer place.  

“Lester and his colleagues deserve to be banned and Lester in particular has been dealt with severely to deter others from conducting themselves in a similarly unacceptable way.

“The FSA will continue to prevent individuals acting without honesty and integrity from working in authorised firms in order to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers.”