Father, son and neighbour sentenced for mortgage fraud - Bedford

20/07/2015

A father, son and a neighbour from Bedford conned two mortgage companies so they could buy farmland at Moggerhanger.

Romi Anwar, aged 37, and his father Mohammed Anwar, aged 60, wanted to purchase 54 acres of council-owned agricultural land which was on the market in 2007 for £150,000.

Prosecutor Will Noble told Luton Crown Court today, Monday, 20 July 2015, that the father and son did not have the finances or credit history to obtain the mortgage and so went to their neighbour Nisar Hussain, aged 54, to "front the mortgage application."

Mr Noble said Hussain was provided with false documents by Romi Anwar that "grossly inflated his income." He was said to be earning £35,000 a year working as a manager for Mohammed Anwar, when in fact he was receiving state benefits.

Hussain took out mortgages totalling £200,000 with Lancashire Mortgage Corporation and Southern Pacific to buy the land on behalf of his neighbours. He also cleared his own mortgage and a loan.

In 2010 the land was sold for £250,000 when the Anwars' farming business failed. They repaid the loan on behalf Hussain, leaving him with a debt of £45,000 - the mortgage he had before the fraud began. He had effectively lived mortgage-free for 3 years. The profit that remained went to the Anwars, said the prosecutor.

The fraud was uncovered when the police went to the Anwars' home on an unrelated matter involving other members of the family.

The men, who all live in Ford End Road, Bedford, pleaded guilty on 8 June this year at Luton Crown Court to a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud between 1 March 2007 and 28 July 2010. It was the day their trial was due to start.

Romi Anwar also admitted a charge of money laundering between 30 October 2007 and 28 July 2010 at an earlier hearing in April 2014.

Romi Anwar had a previous conviction for possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply from 2001 and still had a confiscation order hanging over him. The two other men were of previous good character.

All three were back at court today for sentence.

For Romi Anwar, Matthew Lawson said he had seen the land was available and wanted to farm it. But he said the venture failed because he was unable to find the capital to buy equipment to properly water the land.

Elaine Stapleton, for father-of-three Mohammed Anwar, said he was of previous good character and had always worked. She said the offences were a long time ago.

For Hussain, Matthew Sherratt said he was a married father-of-three, who was being loyal to his neighbours. He said his grasp of English was poor. He said there had been no actual loss to the mortgage companies.

Judge Michael Kay QC told the three: "Mortgage frauds are often not very easy to detect. The potential loss was £200,000. This was an organised and deliberate fraud. Each defendant played a significant role." He said Romi Anwar was at the 'top of the tree' in the fraud and sentenced him to 21 months in jail.

The Judge accepted it was not Mohammed Anwar's idea at the outset, but he said he had brought Hussain on board. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail.

He said Hussain had been 'prevailed upon' to get involved. He was sentenced to 10 months' jail suspended for 2 years and must carry out 200 hours' unpaid work.

A confiscation hearing will take place at a later date.

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