Two solicitors charged in £50m mortgage fraud

Two solicitors have today appeared at City of London Magistrates Court after being charged with offences in connection with a series of high value commercial mortgage frauds.

Mark Knights of Cheshire and Kamran Malik of Birmingham are charged with three counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception contrary to section 15A (1) Theft Act 1968.

The proceedings are to be transferred to Southwark Crown Court.

These proceedings relate to the same investigation where six individuals were charged in connection with the same offences in December 2009.

The investigation was referred to the Serious Fraud Office in March 2006 by West Midlands Police following a complaint from the Cheshire Building Society.

It is alleged that the defendants participated in a series of frauds whereby they dishonestly obtained loans from banks or building societies that were secured on six commercial investment properties.

Each property was transferred between companies controlled by one of the defendants and his associates at highly inflated prices in a series of back to back transactions. On the basis of the grossly inflated prices, fraudulent valuations and forged leases, the defendants applied for and obtained mortgage advances totalling nearly £50m. 

The mortgages were quickly defaulted on and the lenders suffered significant losses.