The City watchdog has banned six individuals for mortgage fraud and fined one of them £130,192, as it steps up its sector-wide crackdown.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said three of the advisers worked for the same company, Neale Morton IMS, based in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, and it had issued its principal and director with the heaviest fine. The other three individuals were involved in unrelated fraudulent activity. The FSA said: "All [six] lacked honesty and integrity, most had committed mortgage fraud by providing false or misleading details in mortgage applications, and a number had deliberately obstructed investigations."
The FSA has banned 91 mortgage brokers over the past three years and the fine levied on Neale Morton IMS brings its total penalties on mortgage fraud to more than £1.7m.
Margaret Cole, the director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, said: "These individuals put lenders at risk of financial crime and threatened to undermine confidence in the mortgage market, so this action makes the market a safer place."
She added: "Mortgage fraud is dishonest and anybody who perpetrates it will increasingly find themselves facing bans, large fines and forced to return their illicit gains."
The FSA said Mr Morton had been banned for his "knowing involvement" in mortgage fraud and that he was "culpable" for systems and control failings at IMS. Part of his fine, £5,192, represents a surrendering of the profit he made from the fraud.
Mr Morton not only submitted mortgage applications for himself that used false income details, but he also allowed his firm to be used for mortgage fraud by its advisers and customers.
Two of the advisers at IMS, Jonathan Smith and Syed Meah, have also been banned. They produced falsified documents during the FSA's investigation of other fraudulent activities.
Mr Smith estimated that about 5 per cent of the mortgage business he submitted while at IMS was "crooked". The three other individuals banned were Monika Tewari, Amanakwaa Adu and Tony Oliver.
Ms Tewari, a mortgage intermediary, inflated her basic earnings by 300 per cent to £92,000. Mr Adu, trading as District Financial Services in Leytonstone, east London, used a mortgage intermediary to submit applications in his name containing false information. He also lied about his nationality – claiming he was Belgian when he was Ghanaian. Mr Oliver, trading as Finesse Financial in Barking, Essex, has been banned for mortgage fraud and providing false and misleading information to the FSA.Reuse content