Founder of Homes Assured convicted

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ANTHONY DOBSON, founder of Homes Assured - a firm set up to help council tenants to buy their homes - was convicted yesterday on two charges of deception after a four- month trial.

Dobson, 60, was found guilty of making false representations to obtain a total of pounds 500,000 from the Bank of Boston and the stockbrokers Anderson and Company in January 1988. Keith Woodward, 56, a fellow director, was found guilty of dishonestly furnishing information for High Court proceedings by being concerned in the making of a balance sheet of Homes Assured (Midlands).

The two men, along with the company's managing director, Michael Robinson, 42, still face a joint charge of fraudulent trading under the 1985 Companies Act. Homes Assured, where the former Conservative politician Sir Edward Du Cann was deputy chairman, specialised in commissions and fees on the sale of life insurance policies to tenants hoping to buy their council properties by arranging home improvement loans. The company collapsed in 1989 owing pounds 10.7m.

Judge John Rogers QC sent the jury of eight men and three women to a hotel for a fifth night after they failed to reach a verdict on the joint charge, towards the end of a case estimated to have cost nearly pounds 3m. The judge has already told the jury he is willing to accept a majority verdict on the remaining charge, providing 10 of the 11 jurors are agreed.